Gary Smalley, a gifted family counselor and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center, conceived a simple personality test using four animals as examples; the lion is used in his demonstration as one who tends to have inherent leadership potential, but is also fraught with some significant relational challenges. I’m thinking the Apostle Paul was, perhaps, one of these:
“Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, ‘Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.’ Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue.”
Nuts to them; I’m outta here. A bit inflammatory maybe, but God uses even our personality “challenges” to further His kingdom, and I am one of those gentiles that has very gratefully benefited.
But the personality I’m intrigued by in this story is a guy named Crispus. Evidently, he was the leader of very synagogue from which Paul had been catapulted into the non-Jewish sector with this amazing good news.
“Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord.”
There is no other mention of Cripus, other than in one of Paul’s letters that this man was one of the few baptized when Paul was in town. I can only imagine, based on the reaction of the Jewish people at this encounter, what transpired for Crispus and his family after the fact…
…at best, he and his precious ones may have been criticized and ostracized by the very people who had looked up to them, those who may have even been close “at table” friends, whose kids had slumber parties together and climbed the same trees and shared bikes and, well, you get my drift. Now his wife could no longer borrow a cup of sugar from her best friend down the street or share family stories over the fig vendor’s table at the market. It’s one thing for Crispus to endure insults for himself, perhaps being ousted from the leadership position where he could have influence and respect, but to see the ones you love and are responsible for being treated poorly, that’s a different matter.
And that’s if the Corinthian Jews felt like being nice.
Of course, Crispus’ actions had much more important implications for his family’s eternal future. And interestingly, here’s the very next statement in this account:
“Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.”
I just wonder how much of that was influenced by this newly trained lion…
Acts 18:4-8 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.