Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:2-4
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. It is a time to thank the Lord for sending faithful pastors to serve our congregations.
You, the people of God in a specific location, prayed for the Lord to send you a pastor. You called. He responded. Now he keeps watch over your souls as one who must give an account. The Scriptures encourage us to:
Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Heb. 13:17
Being a pastor has many rewards. The Lord entrusts them to be His men to walk along with His saints on earth. They proclaim the Word of God. They administer God’s gifts of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They instruct young and old in Christian living and truth.
Pastors are blessed to be invited into people’s lives at critical points. They rejoice at the birth of a child and look forward to the baptism. They bring the baptized into a deeper understanding of the faith in preparation for receiving the Lord’s Supper. They attend to the sick, visit the hospitalized and console in the ICU.
They visit those who are no longer able to attend church in their homes or care centers. They are with their members at death and see to a Christian burial. They solemnize marriages and celebrate anniversaries.
At all these junctures pastors are there to bring God’s Word and to pray for all manner of circumstances.
Pastors are on call 24/7. Just as illness or accidents are not bound to the clock, pastors may be called to serve their members at all hours of the day or night. This is on top of taking care of their own families and seeing to their needs. God expects pastors to be faithful (1 Cor. 4:2). They are to be ready in season and out of season, with great patience in their teaching and care.
Pastors are not “yes men” who benignly bless every good intention. They are to accurately divide the Word of Truth. They preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins. They are to reprove, rebuke and exhort. They will not always tell you what you want to hear. They will tell you what you need to hear for your eternal life.
The prayer and hope of a pastor is that everyone to whom he ministers may be saved. It is to this end that he devotes his life. If you haven’t done so recently, thank your pastor. Send him a note of appreciation. Above all pray for him daily.
Rev. Timothy Scharr