Pastor’s Appreciation Month

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Nearly every Sunday I have the privilege of preaching in a different church in Kentucky. The pastor is often present. While a few minutes of interaction before worship and casual discussion over lunch afterward does not provide the opportunity to see deeply into any man’s heart, what I have seen gives me a growing love and appreciation for those who serve as undershepherds of the Good Shepherd.

I see men who love people and have a desire to serve others, men who love the Lord and want desperately to please Him with their lives. I see men of conviction, who would be willing to lose all of their worldly possessions before they would stop “speaking about what they have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). I see men who eagerly proclaim the gospel with the confidence that God will use even their stammering to bring the lost to Himself.

I also see men who carry heavy burdens. They carry the grief and pains of God’s people. They carry the brokenness of children whose parents are divorcing, the unspeakable sorrow of parents who must bury a child, the emotional devastation of a man whose wife has been unfaithful, the fear of a young mother diagnosed with cancer. They help to carry the regrets of a man who looks back on the wasted years of his youth and the concerns of a grandmother for her lost grandchild.

Yes, in prayer, they cast their cares and the cares of their flock upon the Lord (1Peter 5:7), but they do not have the privilege of turning off their love and concern for His sheep when they say “Amen.”

Scripture says, “Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 7:15). While the phrase “all the days of his life” may not seem terribly significant, I contend it is remarkably significant. Carrying the burdens of a pastor and remaining committed and faithful in ministry, over the long haul, can be incredibly challenging. Thank God for those who strive to be faithful all the days of their life!

Let’s pray for our pastors. Let’s find ways to encourage them, to help carry their burdens, and be a blessing to them.

“God, thank you for our pastors. Bless, use, and reward them. And help us to appreciate, love, and encourage them. Bless their families. Protect them and prosper them. Bless their preaching. Give them fresh insight into the deep truths of your word and a passion to share those truths with saints and sinners. Give them the tender heart of a shepherd, the courageous heart of a prophet, and a heart filled with love for you and your people. Amen.”

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