By Robert Halsey Pine
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:14-23 NRSV).
Do we think of our relationship with God this way? Jesus is telling us in the above passage that a casual, on again-off again, friendship with Him won’t do. It is important that we be strong in our commitment and devotion to the Lord. If not, whether we like it or not, we are against Him. And if we are not gathering with Him, we are aimlessly scattered.
Think of the small child at the grocery store with her mother. She is on her own two feet for the first time. She’s getting around the aisles quite well and mama gets preoccupied in a search for some unusual item. The child gets a sense of independence in this new world and accidentally strays a couple of aisles from her mother. We know the rest of the story.
The child begins to realize that she has lost all idea of where her mother is. Suddenly, her independence evaporates and panic sets in. All that new-found confidence she had disappears. First, she cries and then she screams. A passerby tries to help, and that makes it all the worse.
The mother hears the crying and realizes that her daughter is lost. She had told her to stay right by the cart. The daughter is no longer with her. The daughter has acted against her. She runs to the aisle where her daughter has strayed. The daughter sees her mother and the tearful reconciliation begins.
How many aisles are we away from Jesus? What’s it going to take to make us realize that we are truly lost? That we have gone against His Word? That we are not around to help Him gather in the harvest? He will welcome us when we recognize that we’re lost without Him.
Father God, we sometimes stray from You. We get full of ourselves and think that we can make it on our own. Help us to understand that our independence from You works against You and against us. While we’d not readily admit it, Lord, when trouble comes, we’ll be like the little girl and be panicked because we’ve forgotten where You are.
Help us Lord to be always at Your side. Let us participate in the joy of Your harvest. Amen.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He 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.