Sunday, September 27, 2009
Be At Peace With One Another
Mark 9:38-50 (NRSV)
Warnings to those who obstruct faith
John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
"If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell.
And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
"For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
This week I offer a Sunday devotion. I took the week off from preaching in order to offer ministry and care to my children who are sick. Thanks for reading and sharing good news! God bless you!
I am always so grateful for the wisdom of Jesus and for the gift of the holy scripture. So very often the simplest lessons come at the greatest price.
Today, Jesus reminds John, and us by extension, that it makes no sense to be in competition with another brother or sister in Christ!
All too often instead of seeing ourselves as collaborators, we imagine ourselves as competitors, with the church down the street.
Isn’t it amazing that we actually talk about our brothers and sisters, detailing their deficiencies to non-believers, and acting like we don’t all serve the same God?
Let’s keep it real friends. Haven’t you heard Christians saying things like, “She can’t preach. He can’t teach. Their music ministry is a joke. I wouldn’t go to that church if it was the last place on Earth. Look how they dress! Look how they act! They think they’re better than us…”
I could go on and on, but today’s Bible reading makes it really clear that Jesus does not appreciate this type of swaggering, posturing, and gossiping within the Body of Christ.
I love Ephesians 4:5-6 which states, “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
Jesus put it another way to his disciples when he said, “Whoever is not against us, is for us!”
Look, no matter what our particular denominations, liturgy, or worship preferences, we are all in this together!
Jesus gave all of us the great commission which is to go and make disciples of all people, baptizing and teaching until Jesus comes again!
There is much work to be done my friends and we must all work together whilst it is day! There are hungry people to feed, thirsty people to give drink, naked people to clothe, homeless people to house, sick and imprisoned people to visit, orphans and widows to care for, and lots and lots of people who are counting on us to share the good news that Jesus saves and He saves to the utmost!
Instead of competing with one another, let us work together. Instead of hoarding our resources, let us pool them and share them. Instead of denigrating each other’s ministries, let’s build each other up! Instead of gossiping about one another, let us celebrate one another!
After all, we are all related through the Blood of the Lamb. God loved all of us so much that God gave Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life. Our belief in Jesus’ shed blood and resurrection makes all Christians brothers and sisters in Christ!
It’s never attractive to see a family fighting is it? Jesus hated it so much he said that it would be better for us to throw ourselves into the ocean with a bolder tied to our necks, cut off our hands or feet, or gouge out our eyes, rather than cause another believer to stumble.
I think Jesus made his feelings about family bickering loud and clear! Now we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus' expectation of all Christians is that we will, “Be at peace with one another.”
Lord, please forgive us for the many times that we have used our words or deeds to tear down the ministry or person of a fellow Christian.
Won't you pray with me?:
Holy God, when I look around at all of your children, I notice that there is more than enough work for all of us to do to bring the good news to those in need. Please help me to use my mouth to build up, rather than tear down the work of fellow Christians. God, please help me to always be at peace with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus."