High in the Himalayan mountains lived a wise old man.
Periodically, he ventured down into the local village to entertain the villagers with his special knowledge and talents. One of his skills was to “psychically” tell the villagers the contents in their pockets, boxes, or minds.
A few young boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man and discredit his special abilities.
One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would know the object in his hands was a bird.
The boy devised a plan.
Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead; if the wise man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. So no matter what the old man said, the boy would prove the old man a fraud.
The following week, the wise old man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird and cupping it out of sight in his hands, walked up to the wise old man and asked, ” Old man, old man, what is it that I have in my hands?”
The wise old man said, “You have a bird.” and he was right.
The boy then asked, “Old man, old man tell me, is the bird alive or is it dead?”
The wise old man looked at the boy and said, “The bird is as you choose it.”
And so it is in everything we do. The power, your direction and your destiny are literally in your hands and the hands of those you lead and/or serve with. Which path are you going to take? It’s up to you, it’s always up to you.
[Story by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy in their book “Living Forward.”]
Jesus and His team were doing God’s work on this earth: Helping the needy, healing the sick, giving eyesight to the blind, raising the dead, curing people with all kinds of disease.
As it is written,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Here comes a group of religious leaders known as Pharisees (They were the Bible scholars of that time), who tries to trap Jesus, criticizes the works of Jesus, and even goes to the extent of saying that Jesus were doing all these mighty deeds with the power of ‘evil spirit’.
But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Matt 12: 24
No matter how good you are or how good you do, there will always be people who tries to criticize you and put you down, but never get upset at them. Focus on what God has asked you to do, and move on.
Don’t waste your valuable time trying to play up to people, trying to win over all your critics, or trying to prove to someone that you’re important ~Joel Osteen (in his book, Every day a Friday, Pg 117)
Here Jesus didn’t loose His peace, instead He explains to the Pharisees about the Kingdom principles, because they were saying that Jesus was driving out demons with the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons. (You can read the whole passage here)
His 12 disciples were with Him. Jesus wanted His disciples also to be aware of these principles, as they were supposed to carry on the mission to the ends of the world. Hence Jesus used this opportunity to go bit deeper
Statement #1 Key principle of a standing Kingdom
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. (Matt 12: 25)
If a Kingdom is divided against itself, it will be ruined. That means, if a Kingdom is united it will stand.
If a City is divided against itself, it will be ruined. That means, if a City is united, it will stand.
If a Home is divided against itself, it will not stand. That means, if a Home is united, it will stand.
Jesus gives this key principle of any institution which stands: UNITY. If there is a division within itself, it will not stand long. In other words, Jesus was saying, My Kingdom is strong. I am doing all these not under the power of evil spirit but under the power of God’s Holy Spirit. (How can evil spirit drive out evil spirit?) No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to destroy My Kingdom nor My works, because I and My Father are One. We are united and the enemy can do nothing.
In another portion, Jesus says about His church
I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matt 16: 18
The principle of UNITY is also evident in the public prayer of Jesus
Father,……I have given them the glory that you gave Me, that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17: 22, 23)
The same principle goes true with any team. If there is a division within your team, you can be sure that, your team is not going to last for long.
Statement #2 With Me or Against Me??
Then Jesus gives a powerful statement, which is our point of discussion today
Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.
In simpler terms, if anyone is not part of Jesus’ team, he/she is directly/indirectly a threat to Jesus and His works. If anyone is not willing to gather along with Jesus, (or is not willing to help Him in His work), he/she is knowingly/unknowingly working against Him and scattering the sheep of Jesus.
He was telling the Pharisees, straight to their face, that they were actually working against Him and scattering the innocent sheep.
Whoever is not working ‘with Jesus’, is directly/indirectly working ‘against Jesus’
There is no such thing as neutrality. Either you will be in His team (with Jesus), or you will be against Him (and scattering the work of God).
What’s your current status?
Jesus started a great work on this earth. As I explained before, He went about doing good and helping people who were oppressed.
His work still continues today. There are millions of Disciples of Jesus Christ, across the world, working hard day and night, to do all the possible, to reach out to the ends of the world with the good news and hope.
The million dollar question is this: Are you with Jesus in this particular mission on Earth?
Yes, you can be involved in some way or the other. You words/actions could either be a threat to God’s work or be a support for God.
If you are not with Jesus, leme tell you: You are in the most dangerous zone in this universe, and there is less hope for you (because if the Creator becomes your enemy, how will you escape?).
On the contrary, if you are with Jesus, you are in the most safest zone, ie, in the hands of God. No matter the whole world is against you, you still have hope, because if God is for you, and who has the guts to touch you!
Statement #3 If God is ‘for us’, who can be ‘against us’?
Apostle Paul mentions in the Book of Romans,
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8: 31)
If Jesus is ‘for us’, who can be ‘against us’?
Jesus says, If you are not ‘for Me’, you are already ‘against Me’
I remember a very meaningful song which I learned during a children’s camp – I’m in the Lord’s army. Watch here (Are you in the Lord’s army?)
My duty here is to just to remind you about your current status. Also, know that, if you are not in the team of Jesus, sadly, you are already part of the team of God’s opponent, the devil (by default).
Am I a part of God’s team?
Am I working for Him or against Him?
Am I helping Jesus in any way or atleast extending a small helping hand to Jesus and His work?
Am I indirectly being a threat to Jesus and His work?
Am I supporting God or supporting His enemy?
Am I a threat to God in any way?
Today, I urge you to be part of God’s team.
If you desire to be part of God’s team, there is still chance. Jesus is right besides you, calling you with His loving wide open arms, as you are reading this. Tell Him right now, Lord, I am for you and You are for me. Together let’s do great things. Count me also as part of your team. I am willing to do all my best for You and Your Kingdom. I’m sorry if I were against you in any way, at any point of time in my life. Please help me to be actively involved in Your work. Help me to be sincere and honest with my work for you. Thank you Jesus. Amen
Yes, Jesus is calling you to be part of His team. Good that if you are already one! God bless you
How do I know whether I am part of God’s team or not? Share your views on this below