What Are You Arguing About?

In the movie, Leatherheads, there is a scene where the Duluth Bulldogs are playing a “Mud Bowl” type game against Chicago. It’s the end of the game and Duluth has to have a trick play to win. So Dodge Conner (George Clooney) uses one play to take out one of Chicago’s players, and trades places with him as they carry him off the field. Because mud covered every player on both teams, no one notices. This means that Dodge is covering his own man. The perfect distraction—Duluth wins!

Distractions can be good. We all need something to take our minds off the dragons that have us in turmoil or tangled in details. But, when there is a pressing matter that needs our attention, distractions can render us ineffective and waste our opportunities.

In Mark chapter 9, Jesus spent some time on a mountain with Moses and Elijah. Peter, James and John were also at this meeting and as they returned to the town, they found the other nine Apostles engaged in an argument with the teachers of the Law. Jesus says, “What are you arguing about?” Out of the crowd a man speaks up and says, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by an evil spirit . . . I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not” (Mark 9:17-18).

There you have it. The father brings his son, tormented by an evil spirit and because the Apostles were not spiritually prepared to face this evil spirit, they could not cast it out. Instead of dealing with their own spiritual weakness, taking the boy to a private place to minister to him, taking him to Jesus so that He could cast it out, instead of any other course of action, they got into a shouting match with the teachers of the Law about the fact that they couldn’t cast out this evil spirit.

And the Enemy wins.

What frustrated Jesus here is not the evil spirit. You can see that by the way he dealt with it that is was not a giant battle for him. No, what frustrated Jesus was the unbelief and the lack of preparedness in his own followers. For while his disciples argued about their own efficacy and power, a boy still was being tortured.

We see this in politics, where those we elect go and fight with one another on Capitol Hill and the talk shows, while ignoring the real people who need help. They say their fighting for us, but it’s rarely about us. It happens in churches too. While people need to know the love and forgiveness of God, “leaders” argue about what they want or don’t want to happen. I wonder . . . if Jesus walked into our building or attended one of our meetings, would he say, “Keep up the good work?” or “What are you arguing about?”

telemicus out

3 Responses to What Are You Arguing About?

  1. cindy smith says:

    The last line is classic michael writing and great ending to a timely piece. I like it. I also like word studies. A new one for me – efficacy.

  2. Neve says:

    Thanks Mike. Your last three posts have been a real blessing…….a great way to start my weekend. You have always been an encouragement for me, though you couldn’t know. All through my walk, I have had memories of times with you, things you said, moments (usually when you would laugh at what I said) that impacted me. Thanks, brother!

  3. Terri says:

    Amen, brother!!! I’d also like to add the fact that God placed us in our “church” families. Like family, we may have our differences of opinions, but we are to work through them together. NOT bail out and divorce them for a different church family. , But to weather through the tough times…with Jesus making things new.

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