We have . . . found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world. . . . I admit . . . that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors. Acts 24:5 & 14
Paul was accused by his own people of being a troublemaker. Paul was disrupting the established order of a Jewish community. In his defense before Felix, Paul outlined the values and authorities by which he lived. He said, “I am a Jew who follows the way of Jesus.” “I believe in the authority of scripture.” “I believe in the resurrection of all people.” “I strive for honesty in all that I do.”
It is more than plausible to believe that both Paul and his accusers were correct. Paul was making trouble for the religious authorities because he was living out his faith in uncompromising ways. Paul was committed to telling the truth in a world that liked to lie. As scripture commanded, Paul cared for people who those with position and power often chose to overlook. Paul yielded to God’s authority instead of claiming authority for himself. Such a person as that is bound to make life uneasy for those who enjoy the comfortable and well-worn patterns of a corrupting social order.
Are you a holy troublemaker?
Lord, I too often play it safe. I give in to the culture in which I live. I swim with the current instead of against it. I don’t cause trouble because I believe good people are nice and polite and don’t rock the boat. However, I know that injustice and hatred swirl about me, and I am often caught up in it unwittingly—and sometimes intentionally. Paul reminds me that to be a Christian is to be willing to risk being a holy troublemaker. Christianity is in tension with the evil vices of our world . . . and I suspect that tension should be more evident in my own life. Why is it not? Correct my way, Lord, so that I can trouble the ways of this world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.