Lenten Devo #25—Gather or Scatter
"Whoever does not gather with me scatters." (Matthew 12:30)
Jesus' mission was to gather the sheep—the lost sheep of Israel and then, subsequently, the sheep of the tribes and nations of the world. His mission is one of bringing people in, of bringing them together, or gathering them under the banner of his name. He is gathering a people for himself. And he has given the church the same mission.
But this statement is disquieting. If I'm not gathering, then aren't I just...well, not gathering? Jesus says, no. One is either actively pursuing the mission of God in the world, or one is actively working against that mission. If we are not gathering with Jesus, we are scattering.
That's one of the reasons why churches that act like country clubs die. It's because there's no real mission. They don't need anything other than themselves, and they're content with their styles of worship and their weekly fellowships, their Bible studies and their prayer times. But because there is no mission, there's no one being gathered to the church. No one coming in. No baptisms. No conversions. Churches like these wither away, the last of the people being scattered...perhaps to other churches, perhaps to their own homes.
Unless you are on mission with Jesus, on mission to gather the nations to worship him, then you are scattering the people of God. We are either for Jesus, actively participating in his work; or we are against him, actively opposing his mission in the world. You can do the latter, it seems, by doing nothing at all.
Who are you gathering to Jesus?
Who are you praying for today?