The Unescapable Elements of Life
George H. Morrison
2 Corinthians 6:4
When the apostle speaks about necessities he does not think of necessary things. That is not the sense of the original. There are things, the opposite of luxuries, without which we could not live at all. Such are food and drink, and the air of heaven to breathe, and the refreshing ministry of sleep. But "necessities," in the idiom of the Greek, does not connote such necessary things; it means experiences from which there is no escape. It is in such experiences Paul wants to be approved-to show himself the gallant Christian gentleman. He is determined to reveal his faith and joy in the unescapable elements of life. And so, brooding upon the text, one comes to ask the question, what are those things no one can escape from in the strange and intricate complex of experience?
One thinks first of certain bitter things that reach men in the realm of mind or body. There are sufferings which pass away; there are others out of which is no escape. If a man falls ill of diphtheria or fever, he recovers in the good providence of God. If he meets with an accident and breaks his arm, that fracture may be perfectly united. But there are other things in the range of human ills from which there is no prospect of escape in the long vista of the coming years. There is blindness; there is lameness; there is deafness; there is congenital deformity of body. There are brains that never can be brilliant and faces that never can be beautiful. There are thorns in the flesh, messengers of Satan hindering influence and power and service, that are going to be present to the end. It is in things like these that Paul is quite determined to show himself an approved minister of God-brave and bright, faithful to his task, free from the slightest trace of jaundiced bitterness. And to do that is a far higher thing than to come untarnished from temporary trial. It is to "come smiling from the world's great snare, uncaught."1
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