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September 4, 2023 - Mark 9-10

Internationally, I have seen such terrible poverty and suffering. Walking along in India, I have had small children walking close by and sticking their hands into my pockets to see if they can get anything. Walk the downtown streets of just about any American city, today, and there is terrible drug abuse, poverty, and suffering. It is so natural, when we see such awful suffering, day after day, to want to do something about that. At Baxter, we try to help with our food pantry and other community ministries. Internationally, missionaries are big hearted people, and they cannot easily walk away from any need. That’s why they have built farms and schools and clinics and hospitals all over the world.

Jesus notes that it’s a good thing to give a cup of water in his name (9:41). But he then moves quickly to teach about the most important matter of all. He talks about eternal matters and the kingdom of God. He says it is better to lose an eye or a foot, and to live life blind or maimed, than to miss the kingdom and to end up in hell. Yes, we meet this need and that need, and we do so out of compassion and a desire that people live good and happy lives. In the midst of so much suffering, sometimes, it is hard to continue. But we also have the answer to the greatest need of all. We have the gospel! And so, we labor on.

In the harvest field there is work to do,

For the grain is ripe, and the reapers few;

And the Master’s voice bids the workers true

Heed the call that He gives today.

Labor on, labor on,

Keep the bright reward in view,

For the Master has said

He will strength renew;

Labor on till the close of day. -- C. R. Blackall (1870)

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