Now Brunhilda began again to incite the king against Columban in every way; urged all the nobles and others at court to do the same, and influenced the bishops to attack Columban's faith and to abolish his monastic rule.
- The Monk Jonas, Life of St. Columban (Italian, 7th century)
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
- Philippians 3.18, 19
Paul was attacked by religious leaders wherever he went, even by some who insisted that they were the true keepers of the religion of Christ. Some of these leaders probably had friends in high places; others simply enjoyed the life of religious celebrity or didn't want to be jolted from their comfort by the uncompromising demands of Paul's Gospel.
Columbanus and the bishops of Gaul had a rough relationship from the start, for the simple reason that he took them to task for their comfortable religion. They were too close to worldly types - it rubbed off on them easily. They were horrible preachers and even worse shepherds. They seemed eager above all to keep their posts without having to work too hard in the bargain.
Columbanus wrote to the pope about these slackers, and it got back to them. They invited him to come to a synod so that they could condemn him and send him packing. He refused to come - too busy with the work of the Gospel, as he put it.
When you're serious about the Gospel, serious about seeking the Kingdom of God, religious types as well as those in comfortable power roles of one kind or another, will find a way not to like you. They may even try to make your life uncomfortable. But do not give in. Do not back down.
The Gospel calls us to lay down our lives in service to others as witnesses for Jesus Christ. Either we do this and seek opportunities for such service daily, or we deny the power bestowed upon us from the Lord Himself (Acts 1.8). Your pastor may try to dampen your enthusiasm; your Christian friends may feel like you're a little too fanatical; and certain of the unbelievers you try to reach will talk about you behind your back - or worse.
But persevere. Stay the course. In the Christian life, the truly committed will always unsettle the barely. Make sure you're an unsettler, and not an unsettled.
This Week: OK, it's time to use the Questionnaire to talk with some of the people you've been praying for and getting to know. Please do so, and write to me with stories about what happened when you were bold to reach out with the Gospel.
Today in ReVision: So, is he? A Christian, I mean...
This Week's Download: Impact and Understanding of the Bible: A Questionnaire - Here's the tool to reach out to some folks with the Gospel.