Mark: A Walk With Our Savior (Day 39)

Read Mark 9:42-50
   This caution against harming little ones in the faith applies both to what we do individually as teachers and examples and to what we allow to fester in our Christian fellowship. Our thoughts and actions must be motivated by love (1 Corinthians 13), and we must be careful about judging others (Matthew 7; Romans 14). However, we also have a responsibility to confront flagrant sin within the church (1 Corinthians 5). 
Luke 9:48 states, “Whosoever is the least among you is the greatest.” In Jesus’ eyes, whoever welcomes a child welcomes
   Jesus; giving a cup of cold water to a person in need is the same as giving an offering to God. By contrast, harming others or failing to care for them is a sin, even if they are unimportant people in the world’s eyes. It is possible for thoughtless, selfish people to gain a measure of worldly greatness, but lasting greatness is measured by God’s standards. What do you use as your measure: personal achievement or unselfish service? 
   Jesus used startling language to stress the importance of cutting sin out of our life. Painful self-discipline is required of His true followers. Giving up a relationship, job, or habit that is against God’s will may seem just as painful as cutting off a hand. Our high goal, however, is worth any sacrifice; Christ is worth any possible loss. Nothing should stand in the way of faith. We must be ruthless in removing sin from our life now in order to avoid suffering for eternity. Make your choices from an eternal perspective. With these strange words, Jesus pictured the serious and eternal consequences of sin. To the Jews, worms and fire represented both internal and external pain. Nothing could be worse. 
   Jesus used salt to illustrate three qualities that should be found in His people: 1) We should remember God’s faithfulness, just as salt when used with a sacrifice recalled God’s covenant with His people (Leviticus 2). 2) We should make a difference in the flavor of the world we live in, just as salt changes meat’s flavor (Matthew 5). 3) We should counteract the moral decay in society, just as salt preserves food from decay. When we lose this desire to salt the earth with the love and message of God, we become useless to Him.