By Robert Halsey Pine
John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50 NRSV).
We need the whole body of Christ in fulfilling God’s purposes. Our inability to recognize the Christ potential in others can deprive us of some of the greatest blessings of the Christian life.
Have you ever been surprised when someone that you didn’t particularly care for became instrumental in something that was going on in your life? Maybe even turned a devastating situation into a blessing. Perhaps you even thought that they were really in the way of your peace and happiness only to find that they were not against you, just interested in you.
We must beware of treading on angels. In our everyday lives, how many people do we pass by without a thought? How often do we withhold a word that might make our day as well as someone else’s? God is acting for us and communicating with us through most if not all of the people around us.
We must first assume that each individual we meet has the potential to be a God communicator. We will know soon enough if they are against us, but if we don’t give all in our path a chance, we will have missed a great opportunity.
Sometimes those whom we befriend turn on us and try to hurt us for no apparent reason. This is the chance we must take as we help God inventory the faithful and bring home the doubtful.
Jesus said to the disciples who were arguing as to which one among them was the greatest, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (Luke 9:48 NRSV)
Look for God in all places. He will take the risk of your going out on a limb and bless you with an unimagined result.
Robert Halsey Pine is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.