For we have found this man to be a plague, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the Roman world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes! – Acts 24:5
In my first church, there was one member whom we lovingly called, “The Pest,” because she would consistently bombard us with questions about life and faith. She was not a true bother, but it was fun to act like it ;-).
When Paul was accused by the Jewish leaders of being a pest (plague and agitator), there was nothing loving about it! The dictionary defines a “pest” as “an annoying person or thing; a nuisance,” and though Paul’s accusers were mean-spirited, they were also correct. The Apostle was ever the annoying nuisance and plague to superficial faith and dead religious tradition. In fact, wherever Paul traveled those he met seemed to fall into two separate camps: those who loved him and his message and those who hated the same. As with the Lord he served, there just did not seem to be any middle ground with Paul.
Truth communicated with love and humility should never be abdicated in order to maintain a false peace. Sometimes the only path to true change is for someone to take a stand, be a plague on the established, lukewarm, apathetic status quo … and agitate! When complacency rules, we must (like the Apostle) never be afraid to play the “pest.”
Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status. – Laurence J. Peter