Isaiah 53:10-11

The Lord has been pleased to crush his servant with suffering.
If he offers his life in atonement,
he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life
and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.
His soul’s aguish over
he shall see the light and be content.
By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,
taking their faults on himself.


Hebrews 4:14-16

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

Mark 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. “Master,” they said to him, “we want you to do us a favour.” He said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” “You do not know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them, “can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?” They replied, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.”

I’ve never liked exercising. I never saw any point to getting all hot and sweaty and tired. In addition, my body would ached for many days after that. No, I never liked exercising. Hence, when forced to go for army Remedial Training the first time, I really dreaded it. Many of us who attend the 20 sessions over two months hate being there and the time really seems to drag on whenever we are there.

However, as time passed, I found myself getting stronger and fitter (though not fit enough yet). I began to enjoy the feeling of being stronger, although I still hate the aches and the exhaustion that comes with exercise. After my Remedial Training ended, I continued going to the gym on my own. Because I wanted to get stronger and fitter, I didn’t mind the aches and pains, I didn’t mind getting tired. Besides, my body was getting used to it, and I recovered much sooner. The reason that I no longer hated to exercise was because I now saw purpose in it.

Suffering in life is like that. If there is no meaning to the suffering, then we want to avoid it at all costs. But when there is meaning in the suffering, when there is a purpose to it, we don’t mind the suffering so much, because we are focusing on that purpose and the suffering is just something that we have to go through in order to reach that purpose.

Suffering is a part of life. It cannot be avoided, no matter how much we try. But that suffering doesn’t have to be meaningless. If we can place a purpose to every one of our suffering, then we won’t mind suffering so much, would we?

Jesus taught us that if we want to be his disciples, we have to follow his path of suffering. To a non-believer, that suffering would be meaningless, but to us Christians, that suffering is just a means to an end. Our emphasis is not the suffering itself.

Today we celebrate Mission Sunday. We remember in our prayers the thousands of missionaries around the world who leave family, land, possessions, jobs, loved ones, to travel to new places to spread the gospel. Why would anyone want to put themselves through all that? To many of us, it seems meaningless, but to the missionaries, they know why they do what they do, and that is what keeps them going, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. They’re not even doing it for the reward of going to heaven, but simply out of love for Jesus Christ.

Think for a moment now, what kind of suffering do you endure for the sake of yourself, your family, your security, your home, your job? And now think what kind of suffering you endure for the sake of Jesus?

Dear Jesus, help us to rediscover where you stand in our lives. Give us the grace to ask for forgiveness, for not obeying your will to go out to spread the gospel as much as we should be doing, and help us to find courage to announce the world that the kingdom of God is here, particularly to the people we meet everyday. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: The missionaries who brought our faith to us.

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