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What Team Are You On?

The “root” is used often in English.  It is not that the three letters “uni” are foreign to us.  Rather, it is that they are not easily created or preserved.  You know the words – unify, unity, unilateral, union, unique, unison.  All of those indicate a “oneness” that exists or is desired.  Although we profess to want unity, most often we want “uniformity” and a unanimous spirit with everyone agreeing with us.  Whenever there is a lack of agreement, we feel that it is “those people” that need to come together to see things as “I” do if we are ever to have unity.  Of course, “those people” have the same desire for our compliance to their views.

Since we were old enough to listen to adult’s conversations, we would hear someone say, “You know we don’t discuss religion or politics.”  That is most ironic to me because most conversations if they are more that superficial greetings will reveal a person’s faith and their political persuasion if they talk long enough.  The reality is that some people cannot talk about either their faith or their political persuasion without getting upset and hostile.

The disciples of Jesus (as do modern Christians) had a real struggle when they would see other people or groups doing ministry, but who were not in the camp of the Jesus followers.  I can say that in this present age, there is still a sense of competition among Christian churches and groups to see who has the most attenders, converts, ministries, and money at their disposal.  In the business world, that same measure is called clients, new accounts, and proceeds.  We have learned well from the secular marketplace what business’s measure as important.

So, it was when the disciples of Jesus saw others casting out demons and doing good works.  They were not “with the camp of Jesus disciples” so the disciples determined they should be stopped.  It was Jesus who told His men…. whoever is not against us is for us.  (Mark 9:40).

Let us be on our guard against this feeling. it is only too near the surface of all our hearts. Let us study to realize that tolerant spirit which Jesus here recommends and be thankful for good works wheresoever and by whomsoever done. Let us beware of the slightest inclination to stop and check others merely because they do not choose to adopt our plans or work by our side. We may think our fellow-Christians mistaken in some points. We may fancy that more would be done for Christ if they would join us and if all worked in the same way. We may see many evils arising from religious dissensions and divisions. But all this must not prevent us rejoicing if the works of the devil are destroyed and souls saved. Is our neighbor warring against Satan? Is he really trying to labor for Christ? This is the grand question. Better a thousand times that the work should be done by other hands than not done at all. Happy is he who knows something of the spirit of Moses, when he said, “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets,” and of Paul, when he says, “If Christ is preached, I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice“. (Numb. 11:29; Phil. 1:18).  (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, St. Mark, Cambridge: James Clarke, 1973, pp. 190-91).

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
  (C.T. Studd).