When it comes to making an impact, entrepreneurial leaders are necessary. The Bible talks about Paul and Silas sticking their necks out, starting things when nothing was happening, and living on the edge.
Acts 17 describes them as men who turned the world upside down:
“Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, ‘This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.’ Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women. But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. ‘Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,’ they shouted, ‘and now they are here disturbing our city, too. And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.’ The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.
Acts 17: 1-9 (NLT)
This New Living Bible says that Paul and Silas caused trouble for Jesus. The New King James has a more classic translation:
“These who have turned the world upside down have come here too." Acts 17:6 (NKJV)
Paul and Silas were the church planters of the first century. They came into town, set up shop, started a church and did it all over again somewhere else. They made a difference for Jesus, they made an impact for the kingdom. But they didn’t do it alone.
There were other kinds of leaders that led to this kingdom movement: There were the JASONS.
This is the only time Jason is mentioned in the Bible. We don’t know very much about Jason, but this passage does give us some insights.
1) Jason was a leader.
Twice in this story we read about, “Jason and the other believers…” The fact that he was the one who was named and his name came first ensures that Jason was a leader. He was obviously vocal about his faith. When the angry mob went looking to “drag Paul and Silas out to the mob, and so they went straight to Jason's home.” Acts 17:5 (CEV)
When they were looking for the Christian leaders, they went to Jason’s house first - he was clearly a leader who put his reputation on the line for Jesus.
2) Jason opened up his home.
Jason was that “man of peace” that Jesus talked about when he sent out the seventy-two:
"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.” Luke 10:5-7 (NIV)
Jason was hospitable. He let Paul and Silas stay with him. Evidently his house was where that church "First Thessalonians" met.
3) Jason opened up his wallet.
“They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.” Acts 17:9 (The Message)
This passage tells us that Jason forked over money for his faith. Perhaps he wasn’t happy about it, maybe he got it back (there is no indication that he ever got the money back from the government). But he did open his wallet.
4) Jason stayed in town.
“That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica.” Acts 17:10-11 (The Message)
Paul and Silas and Barnabas and Mark traveled all over, but Jason stayed in town. Paul and Silas got thing started. Jason and the other believers took it from there. Paul and Silas made things happen. Jason cleaned up the mess and kept things going.
Paul and Silas turned the world upside down. But so did Jason. Perhaps he was not a gifted evangelist. Maybe preaching wasn’t his thing. He was probably not a catalytic church planter. He wasn’t Paul, he wasn’t Paul’s right hand man. But he helped turn the world upside down by leading, opening his home--his facilities, opening his wallet, and maintaining the momentum.
As a growing church planting network, we are looking for the Pauls, the Silases, the Barnabases, and the Marks of this day. But we’re also looking for the Jasons.
How will churches get started and people get reached without someone to be a leader like Jason? How can a new work get going without some men and women of peace? What are churches to do unless someone opens their home or their business or their office or their school or their facilities for churches? How far will the kingdom get without a great number of people opening their wallets for the cause? And how can a movement happen if some aren’t willing to stay?
In the three churches my wife Lori and I have planted, we’ve seen all kinds of Jasons open their homes for everything; from church services to baptisms to youth groups to every type of meeting before, during and after we secured church facilities. Recently I was at a YMCA meeting, where the branch director is opening the facilities to one of our new churches because he’s a Jason. We’ve seen so many Jasons - including many of you - who have generously opened your wallets and purses and bank accounts (usually without force!) to make things happen for all kinds of church planting and mission work. While a lot of us planters are out catalyzing, entrepreneuring and causing trouble, so many faithful Jasons are holding down the fort. I wonder how many times some official wanted to drag me away by my ears, but some Jason took the hit for me - probably a good number of times.
God wants to use you and me to cause some trouble for Jesus, to turn our world upside down, to make a significant difference. That means we all need to discover our part and play it. If you’re a Paul or a Silas, great! But if you’re a Jason, that is just as great! The kingdom wouldn’t be the same without you.
So all of you Jasons, thanks for all you do. Take a bow! And take a step forward too, we really need you.