By Roger Campbell
October is named annually “Pastor Appreciation Month,” but some may wonder why pastors deserve an official time to be appreciated. What’s so special about the ministry?
Frequently, I look back to my youth and give thanks for pastors who made positive changes in my life. Perhaps the primary reason for appreciating pastors is because of their important role of being life changers. Some don’t appreciate these servants of God and seize any opportunity to depreciate them and their work. These critics are always looking for some sign of hypocrisy in pastors that will provide an excuse for their absence at worship services intended to build faith and head troubled hearers in the right direction.
Pastors who pay attention to these critics may find themselves discouraged and unable to carry on their important work. In his book, “The Tongue—Angel or Demon?” George Sweeting wrote, “Contentious tongues have hindered the work of God a thousand times over. Critical tongues have broken the hearts and health of many pastors.”
On the other hand, the late A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, was convinced these fault finders are inviting self-destruction, writing: “I would rather take forked lightning or live electrical wires in my hands than to speak a reckless word against any servant of Christ.”
But back to our question: Why appreciate your pastor?
The most important reason may be that pastors are gifts of God to the churches (Ephesians 4:11). These sermon makers and life changers are more than educated public speakers, trained counselors and apt administrators. They are people called of God to lead churches and draw individuals to faith that flows from believing the gospel. Pastors are also guides for ascending the hills and going through the valleys of life. The word “pastor” means “shepherd.” Faithful pastors lead their flocks into green pastures and beside still waters when storms are raging around them. They walk with them through dark valleys and lead them to the One who is the source of goodness and mercy. Pastors are gifts, guides and givers of themselves. They deserve our prayers, our participation and our appreciation.
Words fail me to express all that’s involved in reasons to appreciate our pastors so I yield now to my professional counselor poet son, Timothy. Read and enjoy this excerpt from his poem of appreciation for his pastor:
Each and every one of us like sheep have gone astray –
In what peril would we be but for our pastor?
For he listens to the Overlord, obeying night and day,
Else we’d one and all be destined for disaster.
So thank You Mighty Overlord, Great Shepherd of us all
Who hear Your voice and live by Your direction.
And thank You for our Pastor who has answered to Your call
To shepherd and provide for our protection.
Roger Campbell was an author, broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.
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