John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:38-50, NRSV)
This text is full of things we do not do.
Be honest now, how many of you have done things with your hand that you are ashamed of and was sinful? Do you still have your hand?
And what about your feet, have they taken you place you should not be? Do you still have you feet?
And how many of us have looked upon another human in a way we know we shouldn’t have? Do you still have your eyes?
We don’t do these things. Even though it is better for us to do that to be with God than to go into eternal damnation…
But the best part of this passage is the first part. When the disciples saw someone casting out demons and doing things in Jesus name. And because this person was not a part of the “group” the “group” told him he had to stop. And it gets better when we look at the original language, because there it implies that this was not a one time event, but the disciples saw this over and over from this man, and they told him over and over to stop.
Maybe the disciples are a little miffed because they were chosen by Jesus to follow Him, and yet just a few verses earlier they were chastised because they were arguing about whom among them was the greatest, so now they want to exclude anyone not a part of the “group”. And maybe they are a little upset that this man is casting out demons, and earlier the disciples were not able to cast out a demon. He is able to do what they are not, yet he is not a part of the “group”.
We always get upset when others can do things we can not, but whoever is not against us is for us. Who ever offers a glass of water will not have that taken away from them. So do not be jealous of what others can do, offer what you have in service of the Lord!