“Now, brothers and sisters, we ask you to appreciate those who work hard among you, who lead you in the Lord and teach you. Respect them with a very special love because of the work they do. Live in peace with each other.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NCV)
Seemingly everybody and everything has a special day, week or month set aside specifically for them.
While every day should be a time of special recognition for pastors, October officially has been designated Clergy Appreciation Month.
According to the Focus on the Family website, the organization “named and began emphasizing Clergy Appreciation Month in 1994, reminding congregations that it was biblical and proper to honor their pastoral staffs and pastoral families throughout the year, but suggesting that they set aside the month of October for a special tangible tribute.”
For those churches that preferred a single weekend, Focus on the Family recommends the second weekend of October, but honoring a church’s entire staff and their families can and should be done throughout the year.
Pastors play an integral role in the church and community. They wear many different hats and must assume various roles when performing the many duties they are called upon to do. They constantly are called upon to visit the sick and go to hospitals, nursing homes, schools, jails and prisons.
Pastors also spend many hours seeking God for sermons to preach and Bible study lessons to teach.
Whenever there is a tragedy in the community, the pastor is one of the first people to receive a telephone call. He or she is expected to be available to lend a listening ear and provide reassurance that everything is going to be fine.
They often are taken for granted. Members expect pastors to inspire and encourage them. However, they forget pastors are human and need some encouragement.
Let this month be exceptional for your pastor and family. During this time of celebration for them, be mindful of the many sacrifices they make for the church. They do not have the luxury of a 9-to-5 job, nor are their assignments confined to certain tasks. They always are “on call,” even during their vacation time.
As a faithful member, take the time to do an “act of kindness” for your pastor and family. It not the size of the “act” but the sincerity in which it is done.
They enjoy going to dinner, movies and plays; receiving cards (with some money enclosed) and gifts; sailing away on a relaxing cruise; and just getting a simple word of encouragement.
They also need their cars detailed, yards mowed, robes cleaned and someone offering to drive them every now and then. In this age of escalating gas prices, a gas card would be welcome.
However, one of the most important things you can do for your pastor and family is to simply pray for them. The enemy’s assignment is to destroy the head; but with your sincere prayer, his plans can be thwarted.
These men and women of God give selflessly of their time and service to help you grow spiritually. Consequently, you can help make their assignment a little easier. Become a problem-solver instead of the problem-initiator. Remember that not every little issue is a problem that demands the pastor’s attention. Lighten the pastor’s burden, as opposed to making it heavier.
Spend some extra time showing your pastor that he or she is worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). Let them know you appreciate their labor of love.