John said, â€œMaster, we saw a man using your name to force demons out of people. But we told him to stop, because he isnâ€™t one of us.â€
â€œDonâ€™t stop him!â€ Jesus said. â€œAnyone who isnâ€™t against you is for you.â€ Â Â Luke 9:49-50 (CEV)
Simon Peter replied, â€œLord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.â€ Â Â John 6:66-69 (NLT)
Warning! I may step, stomp on many toes and knock over some golden calves today. Just remember that God does it to me first!
Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples. We are to go and share about Him, His great love, His great mercy. Jesus said that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus loved, fed, and healed people whether they were men or women or children, Jew or Gentile. So what are we doing marking our corners and drawing our dividing lines with names like Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventists, liberals, conservatives, evangelicals, and charismatics???
Certainly we see the first century disciples attempt to establish some kind of hierarchy among themselves, even enlisting the aid of their mother (Matthew 20:20-28). Jesus was having none of that and says also in this passage that if I want to be great in His Kingdom â€“ then I need to be a servant. A servant doesn’t receive applause or even a wage for doing her job well. Jesus even sets his own blood relations aside and states that it is those who do the work of the Kingdom that are His brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-35).
We see the tension among those in leadership in the book of Acts as Peter and Paul and James learn that it isn’t about them. It is about building God’s Kingdom, whether in the Jewish community or the Gentile. Initially they thought that new converts must first become circumcised Jews before they could be followers of Jesus. It must have been difficult for Peter and therest to let go of the rituals and doctrinal beliefs they had believed since childhood and embrace that God was establishing a new covenant and bringing all the sheep into the fold â€“ mixing them all up! (Acts 10)
Jesus says, â€œ… the workers are few …â€ (Matthew 9:35-38). My friends, the workers are still few and time is growing short. We cannot continue to bicker and fight among ourselves on matters that mean little in God’s vision of His Kingdom.
- It doesn’t matter which Bible version we read â€“ it only matters that we read and absorb it!
- It doesn’t matter which day of the week we worship God â€“ it only matters that we worship Him!
- It doesn’t matter whether a man or a woman shares Jesus’ Good News, or they are 14 or 94 â€“ it only matters that we share it!
Do I really believe that my theology, what I believe about God today, is absolutely correct and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong?
Paul begs me to imitate, not him, but Christ. He talks about Jesus’ example of humility and servanthood and then he says,
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT, my emphasis)
Think of all that we could accomplish for God’s Kingdom if we pooled our resources and talents together! Want to stop abortion? Maybe the local Baptist church has an empty parsonage and there are some Methodists who are good at construction and some Seventh-Day Adventists who have a heart for young, single women who need a place to stay and someone to care for them through a pregnancy. Oh, and some teachers from the non-denominational church are willing to do some job skill classes. Now that is a practical alternative to abortion!
Let us focus on the important thing, my brothers and sisters, God and His Kingdom. The harvest is ready, the fields are white, and the workers? We all have the same Boss.
Grace written and sung by Michael W. Smith