I pastored Trinity Baptist Church from 1980 to 1984. It was a new church work located along Rt. 219 near Marlinton, W.Va. The Lord blessed the ministry there with many additions during that time.
A man named Henry Miller (and his family of four) started attending. I vividly remember their first Sunday there. Henry was a tall, slim man who spoke very slowly. He spent twenty years in the Marines. Henry and I became good friends. We played some golf together. We did some bear hunting. He had a Ford Bronco that was a rust bucket for sure (the only thing holding it together, so it seemed, were the termites holding hands), but that thing could go anywhere. Many times Henry had to wench it out of situations. But, he enjoyed it.
Henry took a job as a security guard at the Anthony Correctional Center located near White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. This facility houses males and females 18-25 years of age for a probational period of six months to twenty-four months for offenses convicted of in court. Good behavior and course completions are required. However, if they display bad behavior, or do things that do not satisfy the original court, they can be forced to fulfill the original sentence.
Henry told me that certain two of the young men started having trouble with each other. One evening, the two squared off for a fight. Henry said that he moved to step between them. He looked at neither, but gazed straight ahead. Then he said slowly but for both to clearly hear, “It is not worth the grief it will cost you.” Apparently, they understood the ramifications if they got into a brawl. Henry’s tact saved them grief, as did their decision to mutually back down.
Henry’s astute observation “It is not worth the grief it will cost you” generates two spiritual dynamics we should keep in mind for our Christian lives. The first has to do with our response to temptations.
Temptation is a pesky bother which agitates us and goads us to separate us from right fellowship with God and to please those certain fleshly desires contrary to God’s will for us that we have. On one hand, temptations are like sores to the soul.
Each of us probably have to admit that we are susceptible to temptations that confront us through our emotional or spiritual weak spots. But, what we need to do is remind ourselves that yielding to temptation is not worth the grief it will cost us, for yielding to temptation always has consequences. All too often we regret those consequences. For most, temptation involves a daily confrontation between whatever the temptation is and ourselves.
But, there is a second dynamic we should keep in mind for our Christian lives. It is God who tactfully steps between us and the temptation to remind us that “it is not worth the grief it will cost you.”
There is no doubt that the “grief” may sometimes come in the form of God’s chastisement. But, the “griefs” most often experienced come from the consequences inherent with the temptation. It may involve emotional issues. It may involve health issues. I may involve spiritual issues. In either case, it is still not worth the grief it will cost you.
“Blessed is the man that endures temptation, for when he is tried (that is, confronted with it and endures it), he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him.”
Back to Henry: about two years after I left Trinity for ministries along the Ohio River, Henry’s health got bad, and he passed away. He was a good guy.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.