Pray for Cooperation
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
Luke 9:46-50 (NIV)
Cooperation vs. Competition
Competition seems to run in our blood. We are people who love to be the best, even at the expense of others. While the kingdom of God is meant to be above this sort of petty conflict, the truth is, we are not.
The first disciples argued amongst themselves as to who was the greatest. They were insecure about their position in God’s kingdom, and so they debated with each other about who was nearest the top. Jesus uses the absolute vulnerability of children to show them what a real hero in God’s kingdom looks like.
And yet, the disciples didn’t pick up on what Jesus was talking about. Not only were they arguing about who was great amongst them, they were also threatened by others who were doing work in Jesus’ name. They asked Jesus if they should tell the others to stop.
Their question shows their bias and presuppositions. They can’t imagine a world where God would work in someone other than themselves. They can’t imagine a world where they aren’t the center of it.
At the heart of competition in the church is the belief that God has chosen “me” more than “you.”
This isn’t true, which Jesus makes very clear. He tells them, rather profoundly, that if someone isn’t against you, then they are for you.
When we plant a church, there is no doubt that there will be other Christians across the way who watch what we are doing. They might wonder if we should really be doing what we’re doing. We might be insecure of each other’s success, and wonder why God is working through them in a way God isn’t working through us. We might struggle with a spirit of competition. But our prayer is that we won’t.
Will you pray that God gives us a generous spirit of cooperation? We want to work alongside other organizations, churches, and ministries—not against them. Will you pray that God gives ministries in our new location a spirit of cooperation? We really want to be welcomed into the conversation and find some great ministries with which to partner.
Pray that God opens the door for cooperation, not competition.