2012-05-31 - Are the Dishes Done?
Originally Published 2000-03-30
Mark 9:38-39 John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to hinder him because he was not following us." 39 But Jesus said, "Do not hinder him, for there is no one who shall perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. (NAS)
My wife and I differ on a few topics like some styles of music, favorite colors and a few other fairly innocuous points of life. Nothing to get excited about at all. Well, we also differ on the best way to do the dishes. She prefers to keep a very small stream of water running while I like the sink full of hot water and suds. She reaches for the dish soap and loads up the rag or sponge and I plug the trap and turn on the facet full blast.
This may also seem fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things as well. I would have agreed with you until one day a few years ago. My wife had been at the dishes for some time and I offered to take a turn at them for a while so she could rest. She gladly sat down and watched as I started my ritual of dumping the trap and filling the sink with good hot water and suds. The more I got ready, the more disturbed she became until she got up and walked out with a scowl that would have raised and resunk the Titanic. I knew I was in trouble, but I didn't know exactly why. I decided discretion was the better part of valour and started to wash dishes.
Eventually she did come back and explained that she felt my complete change in how the dishes were being done was some kind of statement that her way was wrong. I explained that while I prefer the way I do the dishes, there are pros and cons between the two and she can surely do the dishes however she sees fit. Then she looked confused and I asked, "Do the dishes get cleaned up either way?" She agreed that they did. I explained that since that was the end goal of either method, and the mechanism of getting the dishes done affected no one else at all, the end goal was the important point. She, thankfully, agreed.
Jesus had a similar problem with His disciples. They met a man casting out demons in Jesus' name. They forbid him to continue to do so. Jesus quickly corrected His followers. The man they had forbid might not have been one of the twelve, or even a regular in the crowd that followed the Lord. But the end goal was being met without any compromise in the process. In order for the miracle to have been affective, the man would have had to have faith in the act. His faith was an indication of his belief in Jesus as Messiah. His faith may have been small, but with each passing victory it would grow and become stronger.
There are times when we stifle the enthusiasm of new Christians, correcting them and explaining to them, "... but that's not the way we do it." Is there anything wrong with how the activity is being done? Maybe you or I do not see the target audience the way they do. If the problem we have with these excited young servants of the Living God is one of style, take a step back and watch. You may be surprised at how the Lord blesses their efforts.
"When you give a man something to do, don't tell him how to do it. Just tell him what you want done and he may surprise you with his ingenuity." -- General George S. Patton
Lord Jesus - give us patience with others when we don't have a good understanding of what they are doing, and the ability to admit that our way may not be how You want it done this time. Amen.
Grace & Peace,