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Ed Jordan: Honoring a Wonderful Life

 Posted: 9/29/17 at 8:45am. by Ed Jordan.

Before we know it, the holidays and Christmas will be upon us.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a very moving classic film, set at Christmastime, and it’s my favorite movie. It tells the story of a really good man named George Bailey. He was kind and generous and spent his life making sacrifices to better the lives of others. He had a dream of traveling the world, but he always ended up staying home so that others could have what they needed.

One of the reasons I love It’s a Wonderful Life is because it so beautifully depicts the life of so many pastors.

Pastors have dreams like anyone else. They would like to do special things, perhaps travel, or take nice vacations. But they rarely are able to do so. They spend their time investing in the lives of others so that others can reach their full potential. Of course, I love the end of the movie, when people begin to realize that George was always there for them when they needed help. When George was in deep need, they returned that help by expressing their love and appreciation for their friend, George Bailey.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Most people reading this column would not know October is an official time to give consideration to how you can express your love and appreciation for your pastor and pastor’s family. So I am delighted to let you know that October is a wonderful time to turn your hearts and love towards your pastor.

Like George Bailey, they serve quietly and unnoticed, week after week, year after year.  Pastors work very long hours, and pour out their hearts into our families, churches and communities. The emotional stress that goes with the job is indescribable and can wear a person down and out.

In Romans 12:10 (NLT), Christians are instructed to: “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

In Romans 12:10 (NLT), Christians are instructed to: “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Love each other with genuine, heart-felt affection and appreciation. Take delight in honoring each other.

Pastors are people, too. Pastors have good days and horrible ones; successes and fizzles. A good pastor invests his or her heart into the lives of those to whom he or she relates. It is a delight to encourage people, to share their lives, to celebrate victories with them, and also commiserate in the bad times.

Each of us gets wounded in life by circumstances or people. Pastors are not immune from this. In fact, they often have heavier loads to bear, because they also deal with the burdens and problems of others. Wounds multiply. Healing time is rare. They are like medics on the battlefield, scurrying from one wounded soldier to another while their own wounds have to wait until later.

So, how could I honor my pastor and his or her family?

First of all, spend some time talking with God and ask him to fill you with heart-felt love for your pastor, and ask God to show you four or five ways you could encourage your pastor, like arranging for some time away or discovering something they really like and blessing them with it.

Cards of appreciation are always an encouraging thing to give.  I once received a hand-drawn picture of me standing behind the pulpit. The young child then wrote a note on it: “Dear Pastor Ed, I like the way you peach!” It was even more meaningful that she had misspelled “preach.”

One Thanksgiving we had a new pastor in our association, and their circumstances were meager. Our family was not rolling in money either, but we had groceries. So we bought a 50 lb. bag of potatoes, a turkey and a ham, all the fixings, and goodies for their two kids. We drove 40 miles to their parsonage, which was a single-wide trailer in the high desert, and delivered our care package for their first Thanksgiving in our area.

We had no idea how much that meant to them, until some 10 years later when they had moved to another state and they asked me to come and preach at their church. They stood up with tears and told their congregation what we had done for them in their first Thanksgiving in ministry.

Bless those who bless you! Take delight in honoring them during the month of October.

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.