“He had been quarrelling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. Having secured the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.”
In this unusual digress from the story of the church, we have the context for the death of this terrible leader.
The people of Tyre and Sidon were suffering from food shortage and under threat of the violence of Herod asked Blastus to mediate for them. Blastus worked for Herod and was trusted and so an ideal person to arrange a meeting (which was really a complaint) without anyone losing their life.
I don’t think Luke is writing this story for any other reason but to give the context to what was going to happen to Herod.
I want to qualify something before I write further my thoughts today. There are many times when a Church leader/pastor makes changes, leads, challenges etc and the correct response of that Church should be ‘Yes please lead us as you see God leading you.’ So in that context it is wrong for grumbling to happen within the membership of that church. A Church leader is never going to please everyone, that’s a fact and that is my introduction to what I am about to write.
However, I do know that church members who are disgruntled at times do not find it easy to express their concerns in a correct setting, because the isn’t any. The members may have given years of service to the Church, generationally even and are now facing changes and leadership decisions that they are struggling to follow, for example, they may wish to receive pastoral visitation that just isn’t happening or they may wish their Pastor could preach more regularly.
Where do they go with their frustration?
Does the Church have a complaint/comments box like in other organisations of society, like hotels for example? No, in fact what the Church has is its annual ‘No Grumbling series’, after all no one wants to die in the desert through the act of grumbling.
The members retreat, but inside their four walls they die anyway, spiritually stunted by frustration and all along they were not divisive, they were like the people of Tyre and Sidon seeking for peace and the prosperity of the church.
Meanwhile the Church devoid of criticism because it is rebellion (and you might as well be committing witchcraft if you are going to criticise) becomes weaker, less effective and frankly boring and tired because provocation to become greater is taken away.
Why does this happen? It is because we are short of people called Blastus.
Blastus-people may or may not be in leadership but they are trusted, faithful, dependable people of the Church. They serve with sleeves rolled up. They want the best for their Pastor and they want the best for the Church. They are approachable and do not roll their eyes if members even suggest what may be deemed as criticism.
May our churches have more people called Blastus!
Will you be Blastus today? Your Pastor needs you and so does the members of the Church.