In today’s short Gospel from St. Mark, Jesus’ disciples complain to him that they tried to prevent someone who was someone driving out demons in Jesus’ name from doing so “because he does not follow us.” Jesus instructed them not to prevent the person from doing so, for “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
It is a simple but important lesson. We have a tendency to make judgments about who is in and who is out. Who is part of the club. And if we decide someone is not part of the in group, we don’t want them appropriate the benefits of the group. We don’t want to share what we have with the outsiders, whether out of pride, jealousy or insecurity.
Jesus has a much simpler approach. Is he against us? Is he speaking ill of me? Or is he going good deeds in my name? If he is doing good deeds on my name and is not speaking against me, that’s good enough for me, says Jesus.
And if it is good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for us.