Thoughts for the Day

Thursday, 23rd May 2024: Warnings and a promise!

God the Father Generous Kindness Love one another Mark 9 Jesus

Reading : Verses from John, Chapter 9


For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

‘For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Ar the end of Chapter 9 in Mark's Gospel Jesus offers his disciples, and us, some warnings and a promise. We should realise that these are separate parables, which do not actually belong together. Jesus often gave us some memorable sayings that would stick in the mind, so here we get a promise about generosity; a warning that we should never put obstacles in the way of a child's faith (or perhaps an adult coming to faith); another that the goal of life is worth any sacrifice; and a reminder of the need to be purified and tested, before we can be at peace with one another. Today, let's just look at the first sentence.

In the Middle East where deserts are never far away, and were the summer heat is intense, something as simple as the giving of a cup of water to a friend or to a stranger is a life-preserving action. Unfortunately, our news is full of countries and individuals who seem to vie with one another to injure or kill someone, and where even children are caught up in a culture of hate. What makes someone want to deliberately drive a car into another person, or take a knife to a stranger, or destroy another nation? It seems to be an expression of alienation and anger within the heart that leads to such outcomes.

We cannot change this alone, but we can be part of a culture that says "Enough is enough!" We can rigorously monitor our own thoughts and behaviour to choose the positive path of love rather than the negative path that leads to hate. It might seem as individuals that we are powerless, but remember the illustration of the snowflake - that a single snowflake has little effect on a tree, but millions of snowflakes can cause a tree branch to break - we can become part of a movement to change our world! In 2024 there are apparently over 2.6 billion Christians in the world (Gordon Conwell, Global statistics). Think what could happen if all of these carried out daily acts of kindness because of their faith?


Lord Jesus Christ,
help us to stop thinking of ourselves,
and begin thinking of others -
to remember a birthday;
to ask after their health;
to give a flower;
to offer a lift;
to do someone's shopping;
offer to take a photograph;
to praise someone;
or a million other kindnesses
in Your name.

Follow Up Thoughts

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