It is relatively easy to look at the world around us and point at things that the church should be doing – and we all have a slightly different take on what our focus should be. Where do we start? Is our primary focus on homelessness, or the hungry, or equality, or climate justice, or economic reform, or any other type of injustice that we see? Those are all important areas of work, to be sure. They are all good things with which God wants us to be involved – but we must not forget our first calling, the most important one: to make disciples. We are called, above all, to be preachers and sharers of the good news.
Apparently Peter and John were so focused (and effective) at teaching and making disciples that it “annoyed” the community leaders and the religious elite. As I read this passage, I find myself praying that I could be that annoying. That I could be as focused and effective at making disciples so that the powers that be or the world around us would take notice and pay attention.
I think one of the reasons we tend to hold back when it comes to sharing our faith with others and seeking to make disciples of them is that we fear their annoyance. We fear that they will no longer like us if we try to tell them about the love of God in Jesus Christ. But to a certain degree, we are supposed to be annoying. The way we live, the way we love our neighbor, the way we look out for each other and for the outcast, is supposed to annoy the world. It is supposed to make them take notice and ask themselves why those Christians are the way they are. Their annoyance makes them interested when we share God’s love with them.
There is an old cliché that goes something like: “Going to church makes you a Christian as much as going to a garage makes you a car.” For Christians, our faith is about so much more than Sunday morning. It is about the life we live every hour of every day in service to Christ. And that way of life needs to be visible and shared with others. That is what makes us Christian: living out our faith, not just with actions but with our words – following the path of Christ and inviting others to come along with us.
Am I annoying you yet?