Have You Been Flogged in the Synagogue?

I read through Matthew 10 once again, and for the first time. Amidst all the sending forth instructions there was the familiar "be wise as serpents and gentle as doves." Street smarts as well as a tender heart, I get that. Then Jesus promises leaders of the church that we will be "flogged in the synagogues." Why would the fine, upstanding people, who attend synagogue regularly, flog us? It is simple really. We will be flogged for one of two reasons. Either we are stupid idiots or we are true leaders. Let's start with the idiots. There were moments in my past, as a leader of the church, that I did stupid stuff. I "insisted on my own way." My ego got in the way. If the other leaders of the church had a different way of doing things, it was not the right way, the correct way to get things done. I pushed hard on others to conform to my ideas and did not allow space for the creativity of others. I could not get my ego out of the way. That is stupid and I got flogged for that.

On the other hand, there were times in my ministry when I remembered our purpose; to make new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. I would insist that everything we did as a local church was in alignment with our stated purpose. I would remind local church leaders, (synagogue floggers among them), that the church is the only organization that does not exist for the benefit of its members. That offended people. "I am not being fed!" the parishioner would proclaim. "Who are you feeding?" would be my response. A Christian disciple cannot be fed unless he/she is feeding others.

Another would hog the blessing, that is we know it is more blessed to give than it is to receive because it feels better to give than it does to receive so spread the blessings around. Recruit others to do the work of ministry in your place. Step back and don't hog the blessing.

These are behaviors of a local church leader. These are behaviors where the leader insists on bringing the gospel into everything we do. These are the behaviors that will get you on the wrong side of powerful parishioners. These are the noble reasons that will get you flogged in the synagogue.

If you have not been flogged in the synagogue then maybe you have not done stupid stuff and you are not an idiot. Or maybe, just maybe, you have not stepped up and become a leader.