Folk Who Are a Comfort to Us
George H. Morrison
The word comfort in our text is a very interesting word. This is the only place where it occurs in the books of the New Testament. It is quite another word the Lord uses when He speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. When He says, "I will not leave you comfortless" (John 14:18), that, too, is an entirely different word. The term which is used here, and here alone in the whole range of the New Testament, is our English word paregoric. Now paregoric in Greek just as in English is one of the accepted terms of medicine. Paregoric is a doctor's word. And one likes to think that the Apostle Paul in his employment of such a word as this betrays, it may be quite unconsciously, the influence of the beloved physician Luke. I suppose that every real friendship has an influence upon the words we use. When we admire anybody very much, we often find their words upon our lips. And Paul, who like so many other people had an intense admiration for his doctor, would naturally use the words of Luke.
And certainly he could not have used a more appropriate or delightful word. Are you aware what paregoric means? I consulted my English dictionary to see how paregoric was defined, and I found that paregoric was a medicine that mitigates or alleviates pain. And what could be more delightful than the thought that there are men and women who are just like that-they mitigate or alleviate our pain. Pain is one of the conditions of our being. Pain is something nobody escapes. All life is rich in pain, as the throat of the bird in the spring is rich in song-the pain of striving, the pain of being baffled, the pain of loneliness and incompleteness, the pain of being misunderstood. There are people who augment that pain, sometimes without meaning it. How often is the pain of life increased by those unfortunate people who mean well. But who has not numbered in his list of friends somebody whose Christlike ministry has been t ...
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