There is a story in the NT where Jesus and the Apostles are walking down the road when and one of the group says “Hey Jesus, there are some other people that are using your name to cast out demons.” Then Jesus said, “Good! If they are not against us then they must be for us!” I am guessing that that wasn’t the answer the Apostle was looking for. My best guess is he was hoping for a little confrontation – a little action, a “cease & desist” order from the master. I mean, this guy is treading on our territory. What if he gets in the way? What if he doesn’t do things exactly like we do?
Things haven’t changed very much in 2000+ years have they? We are so territorial in almost everything we do that sometimes it creeps into our service and our ministry. In business we don’t want anyone near our little territory because we are afraid that they are going to get a piece of something that we believe is rightfully ours. We worked for it, developed the business, and will fight anyone that tries to “horn in” on it. We are so competitive that we bring that same attitude to work with us when we go to serve our God. I have noticed it in my own work in Central America and have tried to purge the thoughts of thinking that somehow the work that TORCH or even my own team does is somehow better or more important than that of others that are only there because they too have heard the call to go and serve the Lord by serving the least of these brothers.
What a shame that we would ever be discouraging to others that want to serve just because we were there first. How disgusting must it be to our Lord that we would make a competition of service to him or that we would think ourselves as better because we were first in the area or think our way is “better”. If what we are doing is working it is because our God has decided that it would work. If our harvest is great it is because God decided it was going to be great.
I hope that I haven’t let my ego and pride get in the way of learning what God had planned to teach me - in Honduras or in anything that he planned for me to do. Wouldn’t it have been a shame if the Apostle described above had been so full of himself that the lesson that Jesus simple words spoke – went over his head? I hope that these words never ring hollow in my own ears.