Isaiah 57:14-21; Galatians 6:11-18; Mark 9:30-41
Through Isaiah’s lips, God calls for every obstruction to be removed from the path of his people. Paul calls for our boasting to be in the cross of Christ, not in the marks and forms of man’s worship and outward religious duty, which may veil the cross. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says the one who is a servant is first in the kingdom.
Many of us are performance driven, earning our place by doing what we perceive to be expected of us, to show every one that we are what we ought to be. We pay attention to the rules and forms laid out by the religious authorities. But Jesus tells his disciples not to stop the stranger who does ministry in his name even if they do it differently than we do. If they are doing good works in Jesus’ name they will not later speak evil of him.
Jesus’ attention is on serving the needs of those bound by sin, the devil, and the lies of the world, some of which have crept into the church. Imagine that! Our “performance” is judged by our service to others, not our allegiance to forms and outward signs.
Prayer: Lord, Jesus, help us keep our ministry focused on you, serving people in your name. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by David Hefner, Pastor of Shiloh Lutheran Church in Hickory, NC.