By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
Our pastors are vital to our spiritual well being.
Pastors are the first ones called in a time of crisis. They sacrifice their time, often at the expense of their family, in order to minister to others. Just the pastor’s presence brings comfort and relief.
They are on call 24/7 to minister to hurting souls. Many times holiday dinners and family events are sacrificed.
Pastors need encouragement and affirmation in the work God has called them to do. Pastors and their families live in a world that never stops. Their average workload is 50-75 hours a week. Many have other jobs to supplement their income.
Behind every pastor is an unselfish wife who shares his concern, hurts and cares. She must also share her husband day or night as she strives to help her husband succeed by having a supportive home. Appreciate her too and please tell her so.
Ministers have been called to build a church amidst a great deal of apathy. I admire the courage of pastors who speak the truth in spite of moral decay. Praise God for ministers who do not compromise or rationalize the truth.
With 6 billion people in the world, we all need to help our pastors have the best opportunities to do their job.
Appreciate the time your pastor spends in study, prayer and guidance in bringing sermons each week to meet your spiritual needs.
There is always another Bible study, funeral, hospital visit or a shut-in to see. The pastor sometimes spends more time with others than he does with family.
Pastors have been put to the scrutiny of the media. I resent the not so subtle innuendoes that movies, sitcoms and other representations depict upon the clergy.
Ministers are human beings with hurts and needs. Treat them generously in every way. Stand by them. Don’t abandon them. Hold on to them. Value them because they are God’s anointed. “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm: (Psalm 105:15).
So let’s honor your pastor. People around the country are specifically encouraged to honor their pastor on the second weekend in October. Let your imagination lead you. Write an open letter telling of your appreciation. Take your pastor and his wife out to lunch.
Give a certificate from a bookstore. Have your Sunday school make a banner that reads, “Pastor, We love you.” Then invite him in. Have a “card shower” and send them to him and his family. Have a “Ceremony of Gratitude” in Sunday school classes. It’s all about blessing your pastor.
Clergy Appreciation Month is not about glorifying a man or woman. It is merely an opportunity to recognize and encourage those whom God has called to proclaim his message and to lead his people.
Our responsibility is to lift up our pastors as Aaron and Hur did to Moses: “But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exodus 17:12).
Let us honor those whom God has called out to lead.
It bears repeating, our pastors are our national treasures.