“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. (Mark 9:38-41)
Next time you are in a crowded place, look around you. Try to pick out the people who have the same stream of faith as you do. Then, try to pick out the people whose faith is very different from yours. I am pretty sure that you would have at least one wrong assumption – but no fear if you are in your home church. On the other hand, even there you may be surprised who is closely aligned to you and who is not.
The disciples were pretty sure they had the exclusive as followers of God, and the only ones “authorized” to speak in the name of God, or Jesus. It does not take much to get on God’s (or Jesus’) good side, according to this passage. But I tell you, beloved reader, it takes a great deal to stay there.
“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.” (Verses 42-48)
Jesus is very protective of the young, or the young in faith. And those who are mature in their faith need to be on constant vigil to keep their own being from sinning. When it is a matter of deciding between the attributes and assets of this world, and those that will carry over to the next, worldly things will lose each time. Just a warning!
“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.” (Verses 49 & 50)
Everyone is tested from time to time; it may seem that we (you and I, beloved reader) are tested all the time. But seek God’s help and strength to endure it, for the testing you withstand and the endurance you develop will prepare you. And your success in enduring this earthly testing will insure that you will not have endure being everlastingly NOT in God’s favor!
May you, beloved reader, pay attention to the teachings that come from the gospels, being assured that the Spirit will guide you to understanding and shalom. Selah!