July 23, 2012

On the Same Team

Mark 9:38-41

“Whoever is not against us is for us.”
—Mark 9:40


When someone is serving effectively in the name of Jesus but we don’t know them or know much about their church, does that mean we’re on the same team? Of course it does, says Jesus. After all, he’s the one in charge. He can give authority to whoever wants to do his will.

The disciples had begun to make distinctions about who was allowed to bring help and hope to persons who were possessed by demons. Jesus had to straighten out his followers on how he wanted to expand the reach of his good news in this world.

The disciples wanted to corner the market as Jesus’ officially appointed dispensers of God’s power. They believed that Jesus’ authority rested within their circle alone. When they saw a stranger setting people free in Jesus’ name from the debilitating power of evil, they wanted him to stop. They wanted Jesus to tell him he was not on their team. Sadly, the disciples cared more about that than about serving others.

Jesus will not allow us to try to control his power for our own purposes. He wants to delegate his power and authority to whomever he wishes. Why? It’s about bringing freedom to captive lives.

Are you partnering with other brothers and sisters in Christ’s name? Jesus has a clear motto: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

Jesus, I need your help to see that all who believe in you are on your team. May we all work together to serve you. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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