Have you ever been called a “trouble maker”? I have, but it wasn’t for the right kind of trouble. What do I mean by “right kind of trouble”? Well, I was reading Acts 17 this morning and for some reason verses 6 and 7 stood out like no other. Here is what they say in the New Living Translation and the New International Version:
“Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.” (NLT)
“These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” (NIV)
What kind of trouble are you causing that someone would say that about you? I find it interesting that to this day if we speak of Jesus being the King, Savior, or Lord of the world it is found to be offensive. Think about it as we approach Christmas, but more so as we live life in the daily grind of humanity.
Paul and Silas caused trouble all over the world. Man, those are some serious trouble makers to do it all over the world. Can you imagine being rushed out of a town because you are teaching Truth, serving people and loving the marginalized? What Paul and Silas did was cause for concern among leaders in society and the religious. See, Paul and Silas did what Jesus did. They called to question the relevance and validity of the religious and political rulers who persecuted the Church. Paul was known for arguing (debating) the relevance of Christ, but he was tactful because he knew his audience. Take Mars Hill, he spoke the language of the “great philosophers” by explaining who the unknown God was among their physical objects. He also knew how to speak to the Jews as he spoke clearly and boldly using the Old Testament.
In my many years as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ I have heard all the catchy phrases to describe us. Most of these terms were created by Christians, which seemed cheesy at the time, or even now. There are “World Changers, Promise Keepers, Jesus Freaks, Jesus People, etc.” No, I’m not demeaning their significance, but let’s get to the nitty gritty here. It was bad enough in Biblical times to be called a “Christian” because the remark carried a negative connotation. As I look at this I think I’d like to be called a trouble maker. The word “Christian” carries a lot of weight and responsibility when you look at it from the perspective of the life of Christ. Sometimes I would rather cause the trouble and let God clean up the mess.
Are you defying Ceaser’s decrees for the cause of Christ? Are you professing allegiance to another king called Jesus? Are you touching the hearts and minds of those living in a post-christendom and post-modern world? Are you?
I look at guys like Jesus, Paul, Silas, Martin Luther King, Rob Bell, Bono, Shane Claiborne…all are trouble makers. Locally, I have some friends who are testing the patience of those contained by the Religious Bible Belt mentality. These friends are tearing down the walls of religious thinking and expressing their faith in Jesus through practical living…locally and globally. They aren’t afraid to speak the truth. Nor are they afraid to live it. They are the new face of Christianity. Emerging the Church into a more missional, incarnational and organic presence in humanity.
Don’t let the walls of your religious upbringing hold back the passion in your heart for touching the lives of those in the margins. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty for those who want peace, love and forgiveness. Be a trouble maker…