Re-posted: 10/16/17 at 8 am. Column by Ed Jordan.
We are creatures of habit and duty, and often participate in our activities and behaviors without really paying attention to them. Sometimes this is helpful in getting through our daily routines, but there’s a downside too. As we thoughtlessly carry out our routines, we often become thoughtless about what makes those routines possible.
For instance, when we have access to an excellent doctor, we sometimes forget what it took for that doctor to get there. They studied many years in a long and costly process of education and internship. They work long hours, sometimes deal with unpleasant patients, and face incredibly difficult and challenging problems.
We forget that they get tired and stressed, and have lots of expenses and bills to pay to run their practices. We just expect them to be available, to serve like clockwork, and provide the high level of care we have come to expect.
But everyone needs to be valued and appreciated. For those who have read my columns over the years, you probably suspect that I am writing this week to remind you that October is national Pastor Appreciation Month. It’s a time to reflect upon what pastors and church staff members do 365 days a year, and to find creative ways to express gratitude and appreciation to them for their varied ministries to you.
Like doctors, pastors have invested in years of preparation, they have years of experience, and they keep learning to stay abreast of the latest skills, techniques, and insights to deliver the best solutions to the problems facing the people they serve. The Bible tells Christians to highly appreciate those who care for their souls.
In 1Timothy 5:17 (NASB), “Let the elders who rule (shepherd) well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” Pastors are the doctors of our souls, teaching us how to stay spiritually healthy, sharing God’s advice about difficult situations.
Most of the people reading this column are not connected to the church I currently pastor, so this gives me the perfect opportunity to be a neutral, but informed, voice that can remind you that your pastors and ministers work very long hours week after week, year after year, and they lovingly make themselves available to assist people in their spiritual journey, during times of crisis, and in giving practical advice. They often work six or seven days a week, and are on call 24-7, 365. The creativity and energy needed to do this week after week is stressful and difficult to maintain. It is not an easy occupation.
Pastor Appreciation Month gives you an opportunity to do something creative to show your appreciation for the pastors who serve your family. Appreciation can be shown through words, cards, deeds, and in other ways that are not necessarily financial. The most important thing is to demonstrate a genuine desire to show appreciation, which may or may not involve financial outlay. Further, these expressions of appreciation need not be confined to the month of October.
The average pastor spends more than eight hours each week preparing the Sunday worship sermon, and then many more hours for each of the other presentations they do each week. One easy way to show appreciation to your pastor is to show up each week to partake of the sermons or teachings that he or she has prepared for the benefit of you and your family.
When you are invited to share a meal with someone, your presence and participation communicates appreciation for the cook’s creativity, preparation, and service. Similarly, coming to partake of what a minister has lovingly prepared for your spiritual benefit is one way to communicate appreciation to the pastor for the effort that went into providing it.
Let me encourage you to think about all the ways God blesses you through the pastoral and ministerial staff of your church, and to ask God to show you ways that you can best express your appreciation to them. It has been my experience that expressions of appreciation are always appreciated.