Maybe there is a Lonely Whistle-blower walking out of the church tonight.
He might have seen some terrible injustice, and thinking it would be important to bring it to light, he bravely spoke some truth.
You would think a pastor would want to know, right?
So that he could protect the sheep from evil, from wolves.
And yet, that Lonely Whistle-blower was met with tense facial expressions. His pastor may have crossed his legs, and clasped his hands, and taken a deep breath. He may be doubtful. He may be defensive. Maybe his face even turned red a little. He may have been deeply agitated that you are bringing this up to him. After all, he knows more than you. You are wrong. What you are saying is not true. Who do you think you are?
Well, this is a surprise.
The Lonely Whistle-blower stands speechless outside the quiet, empty church in the shadows that fall from the trees lit in the parking lot. A new wind is blowing in, and he just stands there, feeling it for the first time.
Did this just happen?
That wasn’t how he expected it to go.
And soon, as he continues to stand for justice and truth he finds himself encircled by the elders and deacons who have taken up stones and told him to drop the matter, or else.
In order to “protect” the rest of the church, the Lonely Whistle-blower is maligned and ostracized. In love.
As lonely as he feels, he is not alone at all.
I wonder what the pastor would have said if Jesus Himself had sat in that same chair across from the pastor and shared the same details? Would the pastor still be doubtful? Defensive? Agitated? Would he say it wasn’t true. Would the elders and deacons surround the Lord with stones?
Well, it happened.
It happened before.
Let us remember Matthew 23,
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
Jesus was a Whistle-blower too. Jesus told the CROWDS of people the truth. He said, that these religious leaders sat in the seat of Moses. They fancied themselves the mediators between God and men. They fancied the authority. They loved to rule over the people, to lord it over them.
So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
They are hypocrites. But don’t you dare to ever say that. They may teach the Word of God, but do they obey it? In their own lives are they lenient? When you call them on their sin, do they humbly repent? Or do they get furious?
They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
Heavy Burdens–You must serve [God]. You must put ministry above your family. What are you teaching your kids if you are not serving God throughout the week, and helping on weekends, and sacrificing for the kingdom. You need to be here early to set up tables, stay late to vacuum, and be a part of every study and special event. You need to be faithful to God (cough, cough, your pastors vision). Don’t let your pastor down, I mean don’t let *God down.
Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
Oh they must be called “Pastor so and so” or “Reverend this or that.” Call them by their first name and see the look on their face. Their churches are cults of personality. They love to headline large conferences, get interviewed on TV or radio. They love their celebrity pastor status. Their books they write. Their teaching series. When they preach, their illustrations are long repetitive stories of how “they” built the church and how God uses “them” to do so much for the kingdom of God. “Can you believe God did this in MY life?!” They may even have large TV screens in the sanctuaries so that people in the way way back of the chapel can see the tear drop down their cheek when they recall the great tragedies of their life. Don’t expect them to show up at your BBQ, or your deathbed. They are too important. They will send someone else.
But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Well, which one of our mega pastors wants to exemplify this one? Oh they will teach it, and then get into their private jet or leave for their vacation in the tropics. They don’t come to church workday. Why would they? When the body gathers to paint the sanctuary, they may show up, just to watch the progress from the back. They won’t help. They won’t spend time with the servants. They won’t buy them lunch and sit with them, or even thank the men covered in paint, and sweat. Don’t actually expect them to act like your equal, your brother, your friend, or God forbid . . . your servant.
Jesus said the only thing they will have is woe.
No wonder they wanted to kill Jesus.
“But, don’t talk about it you guys.”
Immorality–“You are lying”
Abuse–“They are just disgruntled; don’t listen to them”
Flawed Leadership Model–“You are dividing the body; you are being used by the devil.”
What is the Lonely Whistle-blower to do?
I guess, he should do what his Lord did–tell the truth, and then elude them as long as you can.
After all, religious leaders are not often willing to give up their power and control, even for the Messiah. Call a meeting of the board of elders, or the Sanhedrin.
If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. (John 11:48).
They couldn’t risk losing it all.
They needed to stop Him.
But He chose to elude them.
Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. (John 11:54)
When do you leave an unhealthy church?
Is there a time to leave the fallen religious building, or a beautiful sepulcher?
Can we just flee to a small no-name church or body of believers in the wilderness?
Is anyone out there?
Maybe the Lonely Whistle-blower doesn’t have to be alone.
Maybe, there is hope outside a fancy big building, with whitewashed walls and TV screens with his old pastors face crying over past tragedies.
And really, there is nothing left for us there, even if we stay.
Because judgment is coming.
Either way, God sees injustice.
He sees hurting people.
He sees His sheep leaving His Hospitals with fresh wounds.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.
And so it seems, the Lord Jesus will continue to send Lonely Whistle-blowers into the congregations.
And they will continue to be ignored and mistreated.
It is what has always happened.
It will continue to happen.
And God sees it.
It doesn’t seem to turn out well, but . . .
It seems like quite an honor.