“Jesus said, ‘I have compassion on the crowd…’” Mark 8:2
We spent time yesterday in our study of Mark’s gospel considering the nature and effects of the compassion that Jesus has for us. It does not take a lot of mental energy to think about the ways in which we have been given so much by God in Christ. Clearly, his compassion is great and it is directed toward us, his children.
Toward the end of the worship service yesterday, Dean mentioned that having compassion on others can often be a costly endeavor. We see that most clearly in the compassion of Christ being manifested in the cross. Indeed, Jesus’ compassion for us cost him his life.
For us, as we extend compassion toward others, we can expect to pay a price as well. Sometimes it is as little as a few minutes of our time and a few dollars from our pockets. In other instances, it costs us more.
For the next few weeks I would like to introduce you to some people who have counted the cost of following Jesus and of extending compassion to the world around them, and have found that the reward of knowing Christ is far more valuable than anything they might have to give away. These are folks who are North American Missionaries.
That may sound strange to you. Why would we need to send missionaries to North America. The reality is that the nations are coming in droves to America, and, in our culture today, more and more people are growing up here never hearing about Jesus.
The North American Mission Board is the sending agency for the Southern Baptist Convention. Every time we give in our weekly offering, a portion of that money goes to NAMB in order to support North American Missions. Each year we also take up a special offering for missions here in North America. This offering is called, “The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.”
The beautiful thing about this offering is that 100% of it goes straight to strategic mission work. This offering does not go to cover administrative costs at the home office or anything like that. This is money to get missionaries on the field, keep missionaries on the field, and mobilize missionaries to do what God has called them to do.
The first missionary I would like you to meet is Scott Venable. He is working in Chicago to bring the gospel to people who are in need of knowing Jesus. As you meet these missionaries, please ask God to lead you in generosity and show you how much you might give to the Annie Armstrong Offering this year.