This story may be found in Mark chapter 9.
Jesus was told, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
Jesus responded, “Don’t stop him.”
As Jesus explained his point, one thing he said was “Whoever is not against us is for us.” This quote is what came to my mind recently. It came to mind regarding the church’s tendency toward division. Do you ever daydream a hypothetical argument or conversation? The one I was having was where there was a capable but hitherto unrecognized spiritual teacher trying to get a speaking spot at a church that happened to be charismatic-leaning. The leaders were expressing an un-willingness to bring the new guy in because he didn’t speak in tongues, therefore must not be filled with the Spirit. These conversations actually do happen in real life. Enter Jesus’ response. Whoever is not against us is for us. The irony is that in the example above, the leaders might shut down a message from the Spirit while trying to enforce the influence of the Spirit. If the world is as imposing as many Christians say, then they should be more eager to include than to exclude those who have the same basic confession of faith.
This begs a question for people of faith: what are the primary things that you are trying to accomplish with your faith? Frame it that simply, then it will be clearer to discern who is really worth being against. There has been such a proclivity to quickly discern who is “in” and who is “out” that we have failed to recognize talent outside of our walls about whom we should say, “you are not far from the kingdom” (Mark 12:34). That’s speaking life to the seed that does exist, rather than telling it why it’s not a tree. Telling that seed why it’s not a tree is ultimately the core of much theological argument. It’s the defense of the high tower of Christian tradition at the expense of the multiplication of the kingdom it claims to steward. Speak life to the seeds that are not far from the kingdom. Don’t kill, multiply.