Pride and Prejudice!
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 mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.” Mark 9:38-41
This time it’s John’s turn! He’s indignant because someone outside the circle cast out demons in Jesus’ name. But even worse, he wasn’t “following us.” This attitude reeks of pride and prejudice!
Jesus responded by making it clear that those faithfully doing it in his name are also part of the team. And if “those people” give the disciples a drink of water because they are his followers, then “those people” are acknowledging not only him but the One who has sent him. Note: See the last bLOG about receiving.
Throughout my vocation, and even before, I have witnessed pride and prejudice amongst Christian people of many different faith traditions. I have even seen it within denominations (I am a PC(USA) pastor and have witnessed it firsthand). I agree that there are some doctrinal differences, but there is also a profound amount of shared beliefs.
When I served in a tiny town in Illinois, the Baptist pastor and I began meeting once a week for a time of sharing, caring, and prayer. It wasn’t long before a Methodist pastor joined us, then the Catholic priest, and eventually the pastor from the Assembly of God. All five of us love Jesus, and we celebrated this as our common bond. I cherish those Wednesday mornings, and really miss Taku, Joe, Bruce, and Tom!
So instead of a prayer, I leave you today with a joke that Godzilla insisted I tell you to make the point. Note: I am using Presbyterian, but you can swap it with any of the following, and it still works: Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Charismatic, Evangelical, Liberal Christian, Fundamentalist, Non-Denominational, Etc.
A Presbyterian died and arrived in Heaven. Peter meets and greets him and then takes him on tour. Once inside the gates of pearls, there were streets of pure gold like transparent glass and light emanating like precious crystalline jasper. There were flowing waters and trees in leaf and laden with fruit. As they walked clockwise around the perimeter of Heaven, the Presbyterian observed that there was a giant lifeless, black, walled enclosure always to his right, seemingly smack dab in the center of Heaven. Coming full circle, Peter led him directly to the dark walled enclosure to a big cast-iron door with no window. Finally, the Presbyterian spoke up, “Peter, Heaven is absolutely spectacular and beautiful; beyond my wildest dreams. But what gives with this bleak enclosure in the center? Peter answered, “Oh, that’s where we keep the Presbyterians. They think they’re the only ones up here!”