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Creamer column: Pastor appreciation

I don’t know of too many jobs where you have to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for pastors. When tragedy strikes we want our pastors to be there. It might be said that we expect them to be there. We want them to bring us words of comfort to help sustain us through the trials and difficulties of life. We want them to help us understand and deal with whatever life throws our way.
We all have fond memories of our pastors from different times in our lives. In childhood, they help to shape our image of God and begin to plant the first seeds of faith. They tell us the stories from the scriptures and help us build the foundation upon which we build our relationship with God. It’s important as a child to experience the love from our pastor as we begin to nurture the idea that God is love.
When we become adults we look to our pastors for the guidance we need to make major life decisions. Where will we go to college? What career should we pursue so we can serve God best with out lives? Then we seek their guidance as we choose a mate and ask them to stand with us as we make the commitment of marriage. We hope their prayers and blessings will help to keep our families safe.
Later in our lives we look to their love and comfort as we face personal health issues. When God seems far away we want them to help us understand. As we face the passing of loved ones we want them to be there comforting and supporting us. We lean on them, depend upon them as our families face the trials of daily life and the difficulties of aging.
Not only do we look to pastors to guide us through the stages of life, we hope that they will help us develop and grow spiritually. We want them to challenge us to dig deeper, to discover our hidden abilities, to overcome and conquer. Pastors are called to help us learn about and develop our spiritual gifts. They are called to help us understand our purpose in the body of Christ and then to equip us to fulfill our destiny in God.
We depend upon our pastors to be there for us in every situation. We know that they will drop everything for us when we face a crisis. We expect them to challenge and inspire us to a deeper and a more meaningful walk with God.
We expect an awful lot from these men and women who lead our congregations. But I wonder how often we stop and think about the fact that these men and women are just like us. They have the same needs and desires. They want and need to be encouraged in their spiritual walks. They suffer tragedies and losses and need someone to be there for them. They walk through dark and lonely times and sometimes desperately hope that someone will walk beside them.
Pastors are people. Pastors struggle with sin, they experience doubts, and they sometimes wonder if they are making a positive difference in your life. We need pastors, but pastors need us. They need to know that their sermons are touching us and challenging us to deeper spiritual growth. They need us to be there for them when they face trials and difficult times. They need us to pray for them, to cover their families with our love and support.
This is Pastor Appreciation Month. You have depended on them for so much in your life; take a few moments to let them know how much you appreciate their input into your life. Let them know what a difference their hard work has made. Step out and serve in your congregation so that they can see the fruit of their labor. Look for ways to encourage, honor, and bless them and their families for their many sacrifices.
I want to encourage you to find a special way this month to thank your pastor in a personal way for the blessing he or she has been in your life. You wouldn’t be where you are spiritually without the encouragement you have received from them. So take this opportunity to both encourage and bless these servants for all the sacrifices they have made for you and your family. For every pastor who is reading these words, I want to thank you for all that you have done and for all that you have yet to do. May God’s blessings fill your cup to overflowing.
E-mail Doug Creamer at doug@dougcreamer.com

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