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Honoring our pastors

In the pulpit

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POSTED: October 16, 2007 5:04 a.m.
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” (1 Timothy 5:17)
Pastors play a very special role and part in the lives of their families, churches, communities, and society. They are sometimes taken for granted, yet often called upon to provide their services with a smile.
The month of October is set aside each year as Clergy Appreciation Month. It is a special time of the year when congregations honor their pastor and family for the many sacrifices they have made. While October is designated as Clergy Appreciation Month, many congregations also celebrate their pastor’s appreciation at other times during the year.
It is their special way of saying, “We love you; and we do care.” During this time of celebration for pastors and their families, let us be mindful of the many sacrifices they make for the members. Pastors do not have a nine to five job, nor are their assignment confined to certain tasks. They have a 24/7 assignment with unlimited duties. Most people work a designated shift, go home at the end of the day, and forget about the job. However, pastors are always expected to be available, even during their vacation period.
They are constantly called upon to visit the sick and go to the hospital, nursing home, jail, and prison. These men and men of God spend many hours seeking God for sermons and Bible study lessons to teach their members. Additionally, they are called upon to counsel the weeping mother whose child has gone astray, and to console the frightened, battered, bruised wife and let her know that God has not abandoned her. Much time is also spent praying and comforting families who have lost loved ones or are going through traumatic situations.  
Pastors are not aloof and unapproachable people as some may think. They cannot pick and chose whom they are going to love. Even when members are a little “contrary” they must still show love and act as peacemakers. As members, we should be mindful that pastors have feelings like everyone else. They shed tears at their members’ funerals; and they rejoice at weddings and baby christenings. They love being invited to family gatherings, graduation ceremonies, and sharing in some of those special times with their members and their families.
After interviewing many pastors during the past three years, I have found that the majority of them are trying to do what God has assigned them to do. They have a “special” love for their members, and want to see them grow in the knowledge of God. Sometimes a simple “thank you Pastor” is all it takes to encourage them.
Whether they are serving as the pastor of 75 members or 500 members, most of them are excited about being a pastor and being used by God. As they talk about their members and the church they are pastoring, the love and concern they have for their members become evident. They want to see the world become a better place; they rejoice when members overcome the pitfalls of life and look to Jesus as their guiding light.
These men and women of God who give so selflessly of their time and service love to relax just like you. They have hobbies they enjoy. They, too, love to fish, hunt, travel, bowl, play sports, go to the movies, watch television, and even watch birds. Some of them love to shop and go to special lunches, visit the spa, knit, crochet, and paint. During your relaxation time, don’t forget to ask them and their families to join you.
I challenge you, today, to help make pastors assignment a little easier. Become a problem solver instead of the problem. Remember that every little issue is not a problem that demands the pastor’s attention. You want to lighten the pastor’s burden, as opposed to making it heavier.  
Learn to appreciate your pastor and the pastor’s spouse. They hurt the same way others hurt; they have cares and concerns the same as everyone else.  Oftentimes, they will suppress their feelings to provide comfort to others.
Let us salute and honor our pastor during this special time. Spend some extra time showing your pastor that he/she is worthy of double honor. Let them know you appreciate their labor of love and the time spent helping you to grow and mature spiritually. While October is designated as Clergy Appreciation Month, every time you get an opportunity, you should show your love, respect, and appreciation to the servants of God who are dedicating their life to making things a little easier for you.
 

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