To God be the glory and the peace of God be with you. Blessings to our Lord Patriarch, clergy, friends, well-wishers, brothers and sisters in the Lord. Thanking God for this morning of Your anointing and the fresh air that we breathe. It is with love that I thank you and greet you with peace. Not as the world giveth, but a peace that passeth all understanding. This morning I want to continue where we left off yesterday and finish this message.
Paul praised God not merely because he himself had been comforted—but because the comfort which had been given to him in his sorrow—gave him added power with which to comfort others. It was a great thing to feel the warmth of God’s love breaking into his heart, the light of his face streaming upon his soul, and his blessed peace stealing into his bosom. But Paul’s personal experience of joy in being thus comforted, was entirely buried away in the gladness of the other thought, “Ah! now I can be a better preacher to the troubled. I can bring more consolation to the sorrowing! I have gotten a new power of helpfulness with which to serve my fellows! I can do more hereafter to wipe away tears and to put songs into the hearts of others!” It was for this, that he thanked God, not that the comfort of God had been imparted to him, although that was a great joy—but that he had something now which he never had before with which to do good and scatter blessings to others! His greatest gladness was not that God had lighted a new lamp in his soul—to pour its heavenly beams upon his own sorrow, although that was cause for deep praise—but that he had now a new lamp to carry into other darkened homes. What a sublimity of usefulness! Yet that is the true Christian way of receiving comfort and every spiritual gift and blessing. That is the true idea of consecration.
“When you have repented,” said the Master to Peter—”strengthen and build up your brothers.” (Luke 22:32) His meaning was, that a new power of personal helpfulness was to come to him through his sad experience, which he should use in strengthening others to meet temptation. Then, when he had passed through that terrible night, when he had been lifted up again, when he had crept back to the feet of his risen Lord and had been forgiven and reinstated, he had double cause for gratitude—that he himself had been saved from hopeless wreck and restored, and, still more, that he was new a better man, prepared, in a higher sense than before, to be an apostle and a patient, helpful friend to others in similar trial.
Then take the still more wonderful experience of our Lord’s own temptation. He certainly endured for his own sake that he might become Conqueror and Lord of all, that he might be “made perfect through suffering.” But that which the Scriptures love to linger upon as the chief reason why he was called to pass through temptation, was that he might thereby be fitted, by his own experiences, to be to his people a sympathizing and helpful Friend and Saviour.
The meaning of all this, is that we are to receive even our spiritual gifts and blessings, not only as mere tokens of the love and kindness of God toward us—but also as new powers with which we are to serve our fellow-men. It is easy to be selfish, even in the region of our most sacred spiritual life. We may want comfort—only that we may be comforted ourselves. We may desire high attainments in Christian life for their own sake—with no wish to be made thereby greater blessings to the world. But when we seek in this way, we may not receive. Even in spiritual things, selfishness restrains the divine outflow toward us.
God does not like to bestow his blessings, where they will be hoarded or selfishly used. He loves to put his very best gifts, into the hands of those who will not store them away in barns, or fold them up in napkins and hide them away—but will scatter them abroad. He puts his songs—into the hearts of those who will sing them out again. This is the secret of that promise, that to him that has—shall be given, and of that other little understood, little believed, little practiced word of Christ, “It is more blessed to give—than to receive.”
Heaven’s blessing comes, not upon the receiving—but upon the dispensing. We are not blessed in the act of taking—but in the act of giving out again. Things we take to keep for ourselves alone, fade in our hands. Men are good and great before God, not as they gather into their hands and hearts the abundant gifts of God, whether temporal or spiritual—but as their gathering augments their usefulness, and makes them greater blessings to others! Thank you and may Almighty God bless and keep you in His service.
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
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