Excluders vs. Expanders
Scripture Reading: Mark 9:36-41
Key Verse: Mark 9:38
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
One of the great reasons Jesus came to earth was to expand the borders of God’s kingdom. Our human nature gets in the way of being generous with others. We tend to go for exclusive clubs rather than open doors to everyone. The apostles fell into this trap as well. One day they came to Jesus with what they saw as a huge issue. They saw a man driving out demons in Jesus’ name. The problem, in their mind, was: he was not part of their group. I’m not sure what they expected Jesus to do about it, but I think they were surprised at his reaction. Jesus basically said, “great—don’t stop him!”
Jesus was constantly fighting the natural part of man that would exclude people from being part of our group! In Jesus’ opinion, if they are not against us, they are for us (Mark 9:40). Jesus was modeling and teaching a critical component of God’s kingdom: We should always try to expand it! We must continually run back to the basics: “For God so loved the world, that whosoever would believe should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, emphasis mine).
Have you sensed in yourself a type of exclusivity? Have you avoided someone because they didn’t seem like your type? Have you felt that way toward someone who attends another church that believes differently than your church? Remember Jesus’ words: If they are not against us, they are for us!
Father, help me to be open to new people of all types. Help me to welcome everyone into my world and into your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.