Competition is one of my signature strengths. I don’t like losing or being wrong. By God’s grace I am mellowing with age. So, I can somewhat identify with John when he and his buddies were bothered that someone they didn’t know was taking on demons in the power of Jesus’ name yet wasn’t part of their signature team. I’m sure he felt that that it was completely inappropriate for one who was not spending time at the feet of the Master to minister as a supposed follower. But John and his fellow disciples were misguided in their thinking.
Exodus 17:6—“I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.” Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
The first evidence of physical battle dates sometime between 4000 and 3500 B.C. from the ancient city of Hamoukar located in modern northeastern Syria. Historians believe the Uruks of southern Mesopotamia invaded the region.Battles around the world have been fought for a long time and their spreading evil caused God regret for even creating man (Genesis 6:6).
Imagine with me a ship called Argy-Bargy. Captain Accord is given a mission to sail the ship to an island called Habitué. He tells Lieutenant Divagate to set a course of 340 degrees but the officer is distracted and misunderstands the course as 314 degrees. When he repeats the course back to the Captain, his southern accent does not help and he is given confirmation that is 26 degrees off course. Petty Officer 3rd Class Makebate got in a fight with Petty Officer 2nd Class Invidious and, though he was the instigator, he was furious when Ensign Feckless threw him in the brig for three days. When he got out he managed to convince Petty Officer Mugwump and Seaman Apprentice Fulminate that the officers on board Argy-Bargy were corrupt and out to get them. They hatched a plan to sabotage as many officers as they could on social media by spreading malicious lies. What they didn’t realize is that Lieutenant Commander Popinjay overheard them talking and reported them to Master Chief Petty Officer Sot who just happened to be from Makebate’s home town and was a friend of the family. Sot, after a few beers to think about the whole thing, chose not to say anything to the Skipper. Instead he casually shared with the XO, Commander Garboil, that a misunderstanding had occurred among some of the junior enlisted men but that he had handled it. What do you think of the state of unity on this ship? Will it reach Habitué?
It will go down in history as perhaps mankind’s most bizarre year. Never has the entire globe in unison shut down because of a virus. Restrictions in travel, work, recreation, size of gatherings etc., have ruined businesses, increased the number of suicides and deaths for those with other ailments who cannot be hospitalized, amped fear to unprecedented levels, and created a huge divide in opinion over what should or should not be done. Meanwhile political unrest, rolling waves of violence, storms and disasters add to the cacophony of 2020.
James 2:18—But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (ESV)
The faith versus deeds debate is a wrestle that transcends generations. Even so, I believe that in the wrestle of today’s culture, these verses could be reapplied as so: “But someone will say, “You have grace and I have holiness.” Show me your grace apart from your holiness, and I will show you my grace by my holiness.”