Cliques for Christ

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.

And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. …

And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.

And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.

But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.

And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:16-17, 24-29)

“And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us.

But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

For he that is not against us is on our part.” (Mark 9:38-40)

These two scripture passages illustrate a mentality that is common in religious circles.  In the first passage,  the elders were instructed to meet at a certain place to receive God’s gift.  Two of them failed to meet at the appointed place but God gave them their gifts anyway.  This upset some of Moses’ followers who wanted the exercising of the gifts by the two men to be stopped immediately.  Nevertheless Moses refused to stop them since they were doing what God wanted.  He implied that his followers should not be envious of them and that it would be great if everyone followed their example.

The second passage is similar in that Christ’s disciples stopped a man from casting out devils in Jesus’ name because he did not belong to their group.  Jesus instructed his disciples not to stop the man since he was doing a work that agreed with his doctrine.

All too often in our Christian circles we allow envy to get the best of us when we see someone exercising a spiritual gift apart from a religious group or organization.  We automatically assume that an individual’s calling is not valid unless they are part of a group that we recognize as being valid.  If they did not get permission from our pastor or another trusted religious leader to carry out a ministry, we judge them in our minds as being out of God’s will and in some cases we take action to try to stop them.

God’s power and calling are broader than what goes on in our particular religious group.  He is not confined to working within the membership of a particular Christian congregation, although many of us would like to think of our church as having cornered the market on God’s spiritual gifts.  We must accept the fact that God is much bigger than our clique.  He may tell me to do a specific thing that has nothing to do with you while he has you do something totally different that has nothing to do with me.  But because we want to be obedient to him, we must do it regardless of what others may think.  Each of us has to answer to God individually for our actions.

This is why Jesus rebuked Peter after the resurrection when Peter was commanded to follow Jesus and Peter became focused on what John was doing.  Jesus told Peter that it was not his business what John was up to but that he should make sure he was fulfilling his own calling (see John 21:19-22).  When God wants someone to do something for him, he does not have to check with pastor so-and-so, or evangelist this-or-that, or even with you to make sure it’s alright.  There are times when this may be necessary if someone wants to use your resources or facilities.  However, there are many times that God supplies the person with the resources they need without having to depend on religious bureaucratic channels.

If a person believes in Christ and by their actions have proven that they love him and you see them serving in a way that may be different but is still not contrary or harmful to God’s word, leave them alone.  So what if they’re not part of your clique.  If they are doing what God wants them to do, who are you to try to stop them?  Yes, we should test the spirits to see whether they are of God, but we must be careful not to resist or quench the Spirit of God in the process.

–Harry A. Gaylord–

One thought on “Cliques for Christ

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  1. Thank you for the post Mr. Gaylord!

    There is to be a balance in all the work of the Lord. I submit to my Pastor in the work he sends me to do but I first submit to my God.

    I’ve learned that I’m not a leader but I am an excellent assistant to the leader. That is my calling. If I’m a leader then why is no one following me? If someone has a ministry called by God, then doors will open and people will go to that person for their ministry. If a person has not been called to a ministry by God, then nothing will happen unless forced by man’s own will.

    The mark of God-ordained ministry is fruit, not man’s stamp of approval.


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