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Problems

Problems

21 November 2009

Scripture:

35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 He felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:35-36 NLT)

Jesus felt pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. These were basic problems of spiritual oppression or of disease and premature death due poverty and lack of medical care. Maybe that’s one reason missions ministry in Third World countries is so exciting and fulfilling – the problems there are basic and obvious and compassionate care makes a real observable difference.

In America and other developed countries, people’s problems can be just as great but not so obvious. The standard of living is much higher and people can have food, shelter, and transportation and yet be going deeper and deeper in debt until, for some, they cross an invisible line and become homeless. Or they succumb to addictions. Or their lives are consumed by materialism. Or their relationships unravel. Then suddenly they appear to have great problems and don’t know where to go for help.

In small town America we have better health care, though unevenly available, so people are not so much lying on mats on the sidewalk begging or roaming the edges of town crying out “unclean!” But the people in our town still have great problems and like the people of Galilean villages, they don’t know where to go for help.

I didn’t mean this to become a big philosophical thing about people’s problems, but what if every Christ-honoring group of believers spoke simple words of truth and hope and used their faith and resources to help people whose “problems are so great and they don’t know where to go for help?” What might happen?

Prayer:

Father, please forgive me for concentrating so much of my energy on how things are going for me and how I’m feeling and what I need. People’s problems are so great and they don’t know where to go for help. What should the church be doing about that? What should I be doing about that? I want to make a difference.

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