This week we’ve studied a story from the Bible where some of the first Christians got into trouble after a silversmith realized his business carving silver idols of their local goddess would dry up if everyone converted. So he stirred up a riot that only got quelled when a local official stepped in and helped them all realize they were breaking the Roman law and could be charged.
We have something important to learn from Demetrius, the man who stirred up the riot. He understood something about Christianity not everyone gets. Following Jesus changes us.
There is a common perspective that Christian faith is just a set of spiritual beliefs people can hold. It might impact what you do Sunday mornings, but otherwise doesn’t change what someone does Monday-Friday.
Sometimes people even promote this as a positive thing. They want everyone to know their faith doesn’t come into their work. Now I think generally their intentions are good – people are trying to say that they will not be discriminatory, because that has certainly happened in the past. They want to be clear they aren’t using a job with authority to force others to believe like them.
All that is good and right. People should come to faith freely, without coercion. But that doesn’t mean someone’s faith doesn’t come with them to work. Why would we want someone’s sense of generosity, sacrifice and service to stay home? Why would we elect or hire someone with great qualities, then ask them to ignore the guiding principles that have developed those attributes in them?
This is exactly what happened in Canadian politics earlier this year, when Justin Trudeau announced that “every single Liberal MP will be expected to stand up for women’s rights to choose” which of course sounds very positive (who wouldn’t support women’s rights?), except that we know this statement says nothing about rights for an unborn child, which is what makes this is a very difficult, complex and contentious issue with all Canadians, not just the Liberal party. Currently no laws at all on abortion in Canada, and Trudeau has made clear he doesn’t even want to have a reasonable debate about it. Not going to explore this challenging issue today, but just want to point out that Trudeau realizes much the same as Demetrius – when Christians take their beliefs seriously, it can impact the bottom line, in this case political influence. Rex Murphy seems to understand this – he wrote, “Religion is not an accessory to one’s occupation and career. It has a core relationship to all of life.”
Toronto Star called it an “ethical lobotomy” suggesting Christian politicans who want to explore any restriction at all to abortion were supposed to remove part of their brain around Trudeau.
When that happens, most non-Christians like Demetrius can recognize a hypocrite. When someone learns about Jesus turning the other church on Sunday, then is ruthless and vengeful on Monday at the office, they see a hypocrite.
Challenge: Write down the core competencies for your job. Are there any that you couldn’t exercise in a Christian community, like your small discussion group or a church. Why the disconnect, and how can you resolve it?
Contact me if you are finding this challenging!
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]
Two Dates to Remember:
- Our Outdoor Movie Night Returns – September 19th at 7:30pm in Ajax – More Info