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 roles as lifesaving guides.
Some don’t appreciate these servants of God and seize any opportunity to criticize them and their work, ever 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. And at the risk of thoroughly mixing my metaphors, they are keepers of that Divine Light that leads us through so many troubled waters and stormy seas here below. 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 be grateful for and to our pastors so I yield now to my professional counselor poet son, Timothy. I invite you to enjoy his poem of appreciation for his pastor:
Thank you for the lighthouse keeper
During stormy seas.
In the tempest,
In the undertow
It’s good to know that he’s
A faithful steward of the lamp
That shines to light the way,
And that though he too, must weather the storm,
He’ll keep the lighthouse, come what may.
Guide the lighthouse keeper
Even as the storm subsides.
We run aground,
Fall prey to treacherous tides.
Be the keeper of the keeper
As he climbs,
As he descends.
And grant him, Lord, a due reward,
That like his calling, never ends.
Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years