This morning I was reading Acts 13 where Barnabas and Saul are sent out. There is so much in this passage and I will return to it on Monday (I won’t be posting on Sundays during this epic series of posts!). But for now I just want to share this below, from ‘Acts for Everyone’ by Tom Wright. I’ve been reading this alongside reading Acts and when I read this passage this morning, I just thought ‘yes!’ so I encourage you to give it a read and challenge yourself. (It might be helpful to read Acts 13:1-12 first)
Many Christians in the western world today simply can’t bear to think of confrontation (except of course with those ‘wicked fundamentalists’!). There really isn’t such a thing as serious wickedness, so they think, or if there is it’s confined to a small number of truly evil people, while everyone else just gets on and should be accepted and affirmed as they stand.
Christian mission then consists of helping people to do a little bit better where they already are, rather than the radical transformation of life that, as we have seen, was happening all around the place in the early chapters of Acts. And so, when we come to this great turning point in Luke’s story, this start of the extraordinary triple journey that would take Paul right across Turkey and Greece and back again, and then again once more, and finally off to Rome itself, we would much prefer the story to be one of gentle persuasion rather than confrontation. We would have liked it better if Paul had gone about telling people the simple message of Jesus and finding that many people were happy to accept it and live by it.
But life is seldom that is straightforward, and people who try to pretend it is often end up simply pulling the wool over their own eyes. It’s a murky world out there, and though the choice of compromise is always available in every profession (not least in the church), there is in fact no real choice. What’s the point of trying to swim with one foot on the bottom of the pool? You’re either up for the real thing or you might as well pack it all in.
So here’s the thing, are we up for the real thing? Personally I can’t see any point in just encouraging people to be nicer humans. Jesus is about transformed lives! Let’s pray that we will see radical transformation of lives in our outreach.