The Month of October is Pastor Appreciation Month. As you might expect, leading the people of God is a boundless joy. We are always pleasant, friendly, honest, and respectful. We would never be discouraging or nitpicky or stupid or arrogant or mean or ungrateful or unrealistic or demanding. Nope, we sheep are awesome!
Until you meet us.
I think when God used sheep as a metaphor for the people in the church, his emphasis may not have been that we are gentle creatures. I think he might have meant we were stupid. If you ever meet a sheep. Look into those deep vacant eyes and realize the God loves you despite that dump look.
Our pastors need encouragement. These men were given the ‘privilege’ of leading us. They do this with patience and kindness. They take a lot of shots from us without complaining and still loving us. We say we love them and then we give them a dirty look when their kids cry in church. It is hard to be a pastor.
Pastors are subject to so much criticism yet their service is so essential. From John Newton’s successful fight against slavery to Martin Luther King Jr’s successful fight for racial equality, pastors have been an essential part of our nation and our world. The local pastor has a special place in the spread of the gospel and the care of the poor. With all of the success that Bill Graham had as an evangelist, there was an army of local pastors providing the ongoing care once he left town.
So I tip my hat to you, local pastors. The Holy Spirit has given you a special responsibility and it is a joy to work with you and watch you as you labor. Be faithful to Jesus, the Chief Shepherd. If you hope in your congregation, I promise we will fail you. If you hope in Jesus, he will never fail you.
I would especially like to thank my local pastors. Pastor Jason Meyer, Pastor Dan Holst, and Pastor Vince Johnson have all been encouragements to me. You all have pointed me to the gospel and helped me to better see the deep and satisfying hope of Jesus. When my sins are their blackest, there is hope in a cross that shines brightly into that darkness. You have pointed that way for me.
With my deep respect,