Someone somewhere decided that October should be "pastor appreciation" month. I don't know who decided this, but I think it's a good idea. After all, 1 Tim. 5:17 reads, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching." It's a godly and biblical thing for God's people to honor the men He raises up to watch over their souls and their work should be a joy (Heb. 13:17).
But, I think we also need a congregation appreciation month. There should be some place where pastors set aside time to express their appreciation for their people. We should do this everyday as we pray for the people, but it seems reasonable to set aside a special season of thanksgiving and gratefulness to God for saving His sheep and calling us to tend them. I know that my dull heart can use a season like this. So, this month, I'm going to try each day to give attention to at least one reason I'm thankful for the people God has graciously allowed me to serve. And since it's already October 2nd, here are two:
1. Humility. This past Sunday I had the joy of meeting with a new couple to the island. They were excited to be in Cayman and even more excited to be at FBC. They commended the church for a number of things, but what stood out to me was their praise to God for the humility they sensed in the people of FBC. I think they were spot on in recognizing God's grace in this. It's really one of the first things I noticed when I first visited in January 2006, and one of the things I say to people who ask me what the church is like. I say, "The saints at FBC are a humble people, sweet, who love the Lord and His gospel." I'm deeply appreciative of the humility that God has worked in the life of this congregation over its 32 years of existence, a humility that springs from the cross, is deepened through service, sweetened through suffering, and evident to others. May He continue to grow us in humility.
2. Generosity. Boy, there are too many instances to name in this short post. The folks at FBC do not give to be seen but as an act of private, joyful dedication to the Lord. So, I'd be out of bounds to get too specific about people or acts. But as pastors, we're well cared for. When there is a need, people respond with giving and sharing. We're growing in hospitality and openness with our lives. God has freely given us all things with Christ His Son, and the people at FBC give to one another like they know God's generosity to them in Christ.
These are two reasons I'm deeply appreciative of the people the Lord has given me to shepherd. Tomorrow, Lord willing, one other.
Pastors, why are you appreciative of your people?
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