October is pastor appreciation month. I am a pastor’s wife. I grew up in church. I came to hear the sermon, which sometimes I loved, sometimes I criticized and sometimes I daydreamed through. I came selfishly to hear what I needed to hear to carry me through the week. I actually never once gave a thought about what the person delivering the sermon had faced that week, that month or that year. Until I married a pastor.
I now know that my husband has to deliver his sermon extolling God’s goodness and grace, His provision, His love, and kindness – no matter what.
- When there is financial pressure and he wonders how he will ever retire, he still needs to preach that God will provide.
- When there is bad news from the doctor for him or those he loves, he still needs to speak of God’s great love.
- When illness hits and there seems to be no relief and no response to prayer, he still needs to teach God is the Great Healer, Jehovah Rapha.
- When his wife cries and wonders why God doesn’t seemingly answer prayers, and his heart breaks watching her struggle with this, he still needs to preach that God answers prayers.
- When he is sad, he must still declare the joy of the Lord.
- When his children are hurt or wounded, he continues to preach that God loves the little children, even though it would be easy to not find love.
- When unspeakable loss is suffered, he still proclaims that God will restore.
- When it seems that God is taking forever to answer a prayer and he becomes impatient, he must still utter words declaring patience and longsuffering.
- When he wants to be angry and bitter in spirit, he must reflect God’s kindness and caring.
- When he has been hurt so deeply by someone, especially someone close to him or someone in his congregation, he must set aside pettiness and preach that vengeance is God’s and forgiveness is needed.
- When his heart’s prayers for mercy seem to find no answer, he must still trumpet amazing grace.
Dear churchgoer, stop and take a moment to consider the person that feeds you from God’s Word. He is not a super-human. He is human. He suffers the same losses, fears, sadness, uncertainties, questions that you face. He does not have a “you are godly” shield accorded to him so that the ills of life bounce off him or his family. He is not immune to the trials of life. Indeed, Satan would love nothing better than to see an effective leader stumble and fail.
In truth, I have learned that the man of God that stands before you week after week is a sensitive human being who silently faces the battles of life and bows his head and prostates himself on the mercies of God because sometimes he can no longer function under his own power. He is not immune from the battles of life that scar the soul and wrench the heart. He just needs to get up week after week and summon the Holy Spirit to speak through him to encourage, educate, challenge, mobilize, and yes, sometimes even amuse you.
This October please take a moment to thank your pastor for the incredible calling he/she answered. It is a calling that requires more than most of us would ever really give thought. It is an honor, and yet an incredible challenge. Pray for those men and women who serve God’s call.
Show your love and care. Who knows? Maybe that person that has served you for years desperately needs to be encouraged and uplifted in prayer. Satan is a mighty adversary. Maybe that the man or woman that is called to meet your needs now needs your hand to lift him up and your shoulder to lean on. I love and support my pastor, won’t you join me?