Alone, unaided and filled with passion, the man pressed on to bring the message of Christ to those under the power of the enemy. His name is unknown—he is the anonymous servant of Christ. He never sought recognition and never clamored for fame.
This man faced opposition. There were men who possessed positions of prominence and demanded that the man stop his activity. He was a rogue, an outsider. He didn’t have the sanction of their group and they demanded he “cease and desist.” You may be surprised at who demanded that he stop.
You may be thinking that I’m speaking of someone today. That in some remote region of the world a solitary figure is striking a blow at the gates of hell and paving the way for the Kingdom of Christ into the hearts of all who hear him.
“Teacher," said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us” (Mark 9:38).
This is the anonymous servant – and it was the disciples who tried to stop him!
I wonder if there are anonymous servants today – men or women who strive to serve the Lord Jesus and defeat the enemy of Christ, bringing hope and the gospel to those who need it, all the while being told by those who are “in” that they need to stop! How many men or women are told that “God wouldn’t use you… you’re not one of us?” I fear that there are many.
Here was this man, outside the circle of the disciples, going rogue in Christ and sharing in the power of God. How dare he! How dare he think that he could do something for the Lord Jesus without being a part of the twelve.
We all must hear the words of our Lord Jesus:
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:39-40).
I think it’s time we stop determining who can and cannot be a servant of Christ Jesus. God’s word alone sets the parameters for service in the Kingdom and we will do well to adhere to them. Determining that a man or woman cannot serve the Lord Jesus simply because they fail to make the grade with us is ludicrous. Get over it. Jesus calls His own servants – and He never seeks our approval.
You might be one of those anonymous servants. Press on! Don’t let others tell you that you have no right to serve Jesus Christ. The man the disciples tried to stop is living proof that God can and will use anyone who has an open heart to Christ. Simply follow Jesus – be obedient to His word – and let God have the final say in who can or cannot be a trusted vessel of the Gospel.
What are you willing to do to become an effective, productive Christian? Will you go to school? Will you take training classes on how to serve the Lord? Will you, as some have done, spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on a spiritual “coach” who will help you see the mistakes you make and corrections to take? School is good, training is important, and having someone to “coach” you has some value. But, did you know that God has already given you what you need to become an effective Christian? God wants you to be effective and productive – but remember that His view of effectiveness is not from a worldly, pragmatic understanding. God’s view of effectiveness is built on one thing – your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, we're going to take a look at four important dynamics for an effective Christian life. Let me encourage you to read 2 Peter, chapter one.
First - Character Counts
At a conference in Spokane, WA--several years ago--Pastor and author, Henry Blackaby, said this: "You can have a Ph.D. in skills, but your character will ruin you." Ultimately it will be the quality of your character that will open the doors of effective Christian living. Like the punctuation of your life, your character will either leave an exclamation point or a question mark on your faith.
Second - Growth is Imperative
If you're not growing... your dead. Truly, the Christian faith is not a static experience that has a limit to growth. Psalm 84 says that the faithful will go from "strength to strength." But for how long? "Until each appear before God in Zion." That is - you are meant to be in a growth mode until the day you stand on the streets of Heaven itself. Remember - it is the stagnant pool that becomes septic and unfit for use.
Third - Results Matter
This may surprise some people, but God wants His church to be productive. However, God does not measure results by worldly standards. God does not have a quota as if He is some supreme foreman demanding that the production line get into gear! God's sights are set on your faithfulness - that is what He is after. And, if you add the qualities of character to your faith, then you will become productive.
Fourth - Have the Right Information
Your effectiveness hinges on your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like having a road map of Berlin won't help you navigate the highways of Los Angeles, so having the wrong knowledge of Jesus Christ will devastate your effectiveness.
When your life takes on the quality of Christ, you will discover that you are becoming effective in your faith. Jesus called us to follow Him - and in so doing, He promised to transform us to become fishers of men - that is, effective and productive.