My wife and I are in many ways opposites. I have always said that our marriage is built on a team concept. We both have strong and weak qualities to bring to our marriage. Where I am weak, she is strong and vica versa. In fact, I believe that a strong tenant of any marriage should be recognizing each other as “unique” rather than “different”. Hmmmmmmmmm, this could be applied throughout life, couldn’t it? “Unique rather than different”…..
Mark 9:38-41 (TNIV)
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly be rewarded.
So here we have the disciples approaching Jesus upset that someone else is driving out demons in His name. HELLOOOOOOOOO……can you see the problem here? “Hey Jesus! Someone other than us is doing good stuff in your name and applying your Good News! We are the only ones who can do that! What’s up Jesus?”
What does Jesus basically say, “Yo dudes, don’t you get it? If this guy is doing good….let him drive on! If he is doing great things in My name, he is on the right track! If he’s not against us he’s on our side!”
I have always recognized that churches (groups of called out people serving Jesus, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus and building the kingdom) are unique….not just different. None have an “inside line” with Jesus yet ALL have an inside line with Jesus.
In the Christian non-denominational Church we have a saying, a tenant if you will: “In essentials unity, in opinions liberty, and in all things love”. The point is exactly that, we should view other churches and denominations as “unique” and we should be in unity with them. Not bad….just different and unique. We should put aside our rivalry, jealousy, petty loyalties, and bickering. We don’t have to agree on methods of service, end times beliefs, preferences, and on and on.
We all believe in the essentials: Jesus is the Son of God, indeed Jesus is God Himself– come to earth in the flesh. He died on the cross for our sins and rose on the third day. We should never let our differences interfere with our common goals of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and building the Kingdom of God, indeed, our part in building the kingdom of Heaven. We have this common faith and must cooperate with each other and see past our differences. “Unique….rather than different!”
LET ME POINT OUT SOMETHING HERE: Upon a careful reading of the Gospels, even the disciples and Jesus’ inner circle did not completely understand Jesus’ mission. Additionally, it’s rather ironic that just recently (Mark 9:18), even the disciples were not able to drive out a demon while this man here in verse 38 does…. and is apparently successful.
As followers of Jesus, we should never be jealous of anybody speaking the good news and specifically, applying the wisdom of Jesus by helping people heal (physically, emotionally or otherwise) in this life.
1. We should not refuse to cooperate with any ministry because it’s not “our denomination” or affiliated with our denomination.
2. We should not refuse to participate in projects that don’t involve the people with whom we feel most comfortable.
3. We should not refuse to cooperate with others because they don’t operate the way we do or the way we are used to operating.
4. We should not refuse to participate because we feel our efforts won’t receive much recognition.
I am proud of LifePoint Christian Church, and if you belong to a different church or denomination, I pray that you are proud also if these things can be applied to you. Each of us, as churches, is unique and special….not just different!
I am proud of LifePoint and all the churches that participate in Grace and Grits, a place that we feed the hungry in our community. Indeed, Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Sanford started this ministry 20 years ago and a different church/denomination cooks and serves the food every Wednesday. On any given Wednesday we have Catholics, Episcopalians, Non-denominational Christians, Greek Orthodox Christians, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist…..and the list goes on…..all serving together.
We don’t have to agree TO LOVE PEOPLE! We should just do it!
I am also proud of LifePoint for feeding all the homeless school children at Lake Mary Elementary School every week through their Food pantry. We get no recognition, only the knowledge that we are serving the King…….Jesus.
Indeed, we must see each other as denominations, as well as individually as Christians, that have the common goal of Sharing the true healer, our Lord, our Messiah and our Savior as well as having the common goal of building the kingdom of God/the kingdom of heaven.
Again, we don’t have to agree TO LOVE PEOPLE! We should just do it!