To get us started, let me define what I am talking about when it comes to church pride. There is nothing wrong with loving your church (far from it) but for some, it can get into an area of pride. This is especially true for pastors who can get tunneled vision on their vision. I know because I have struggled with this in the past myself.
This is not just a church leader problem though. I meet many people who seem to worship their church, their traditions, and/or their pastors. Often times, they say things that show their suspicion and concern about any other church than their own.
Then there’s another level where people can be very prideful and cut themselves off from any contact with other churches at all which is a strong problem in the area I live. That might push someone’s buttons but as the guy who owned the Christian bookstore in town and knows many in our area, this is a very true statement.
So some thoughts came to mind as I was doing my study time this morning and read this…..
“They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.” Mark 9: 33-37
When I have read this in the past, I thought this was an internal battle between the apostle’s themselves but with a closer look, this appears to be a Christ follower issue. This may have even been the chosen twelve versus other followers. Let me continue to explain…..
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Here, Jesus calls the twelve aside to have a little chat to refocus them on his perspective (He’s has a habit of doing that with us). He says that His followers are much more than just a small, hand picked group. His family is all of His children who He holds in his arms intimately.
““Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” Mark 9: 38
John (who tends to have an issue along with his brother and mother on “being the greatest”) reveals the start of the argument on the road. There was someone else was doing effective ministry and they were jealous. This is especially true since it wasn’t long after the twelve tried to cast out a demon and failed (Mark 9: 14-32).
It’s sad how we can trash each other when we get jealous of each other’s ministries.
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” Mark 9: 39-41
Not all churches are created equal. There are those with false teaching and false motives. However, for Christ following churches, we are all held in the arms of the Savior and need to remember we are all precious to Him.
What advice would Jesus have for us?
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Mark 9:50