For or Against?

He isn’t one of us.  They don’t do it the right way.  She doesn’t use the right words.

Words that are used to exclude, to dominate, to prescribe.  We might think we are keeping good order, but are we just maintaining status quo and stifling growth and development?

Mark 9:38-50

For or against Jesus

38 John said, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to force demons out of people. But he wasn’t one of us, and we told him to stop.”

39 Jesus said to his disciples:

Don’t stop him! No one who works miracles in my name will soon turn and say something bad about me. 40 Anyone who isn’t against us is for us. 41 And anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name, just because you belong to me, will surely be rewarded.

Temptations To Sin

42 It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks. 43-44 So if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! You would be better off to go into life crippled than to have two hands and be thrown into the fires of hell that never go out. 45-46 If your foot causes you to sin, chop it off. You would be better off to go into life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 If your eye causes you to sin, get rid of it. You would be better off to go into God’s kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. 48 The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning.

49 Everyone must be salted with fire.

50 Salt is good. But if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made salty again? Have salt among you and live at peace with each other.

Jesus’ disciples were concerned that someone was going around using his name, when he wasn’t part of their group.  They are quite put out by it – Jesus is unconcerned.  Jesus is not precious about who is “in” or “out”, but is happy to accept someone working in his name.

He turns the conversation around to what really shows whether someone is for him or against him – how they behave, how they treat others and whether they lead others astray or not.

You don’t want to be causing someone else to do something wrong.  People watch us.  They see how we live out our faith.  They assume that if we do something as one of God’s followers it is ok.  So if we dodge a fare, take a prohibited short cut, take advantage of someone, trample on others feelings etc etc…, they can think that is how faith is lived out.  And if they follow suit, the fault is not theirs, but ours – we have led them to believe that kind of behaviour is alright – and we are responsible.

It’s an awesome responsibility this Christian living.  We are charged with showing others God’s ways.

All of our life should be lived for him, living as he would, pointing the way.

Lord,

forgive me

for the times when my focus has been on others

and what they are or aren’t doing,

rather than on how I am living.

May I accept the ways of those who call on you,

however different they are to mine.

May my concern be about what I am doing,

how I live,

the example I give to others,

what I show them of you.

Lord,

I offer the whole of my life to you,

keeping nothing for myself.

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