Pastor Appreciation

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Pastor Appreciation

Our pastors work so hard on our behalf.  Their hours of operation are 24/7/365.  Shepherding people emotionally and spiritually can be an inexhaustible cause.  As we head in to the holidays, at time when pastor’s burdens get even heavier then they already are, let’s let them know how grateful we are for them, and let’s look for ways that we can lighten their load and share their burden. Here is an excerpt from Darcy Kimmel’s chapter in the book, The Joy of a Promise Kept, in which she was a contributing author.

“As the dark clouds rolled in and the cold wind picked up, Jim felt a knot form in his stomach.  He was going to have to work quickly to secure the sheep safely in their pen before the full force of the storm hit and darkness covered the hills. “96, 97, 98…” Wouldn’t you know it! The same two sheep had wandered off again. Jim had half a mind to let them fend for themselves, but he didn’t have that luxury.  They weren’t his sheep.  He had taken an oath before their owner that he would do all he could to keep them safe and cared for. Fastening the latch on the sheep fold, he whispered a prayer for the protection of the ninety-eight and then turned to face the forest that was quickly succumbing to the shadows of the storm.  Cold. Fear. Fatigue. He felt all three as he buttoned his coat tightly and pulled his hat down over his ears.  It’s going to be a long night. Leaning into the wind, his eyes fell on the village lights below.  I hope Mary isn’t worried about me being late.  She’s more patient with me then I deserve.  I was supposed to restock the wood pile tonight.  It’s so cold, and Jimmy was running a fever when I left this morning.  Dear God, don’t let her try to chop the wood herself.  I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to her or the baby growing inside of her. The shrill wind and the sleeting rain was going to make it difficult to hear the bleating of the wayward sheep. Funny, though, how Jim could hear hid own stomach growling from hunger and his teeth chattering from cold.  Trimming his lantern and holding it out in front of him, he began to retrace the path he had lead his sheep over earlier that day. And as he moved deeper into the woods, he prayed that hid commitment to his sheep would not succumb to the growing desire within him to give up. Two hours and several exhausting miles later he heard something that made him think he was dreaming.  What was that? It sounds like…no, it couldn’t be. For a second, he thought the wind was calling his name.  Boy, I’m more exhausted then I realized. But wait, there were lights coming over the hill— five, maybe more.  The he heard his name again and began to see men attached to the floating lanterns. “Jim! Hey, Jim, there you are” As the group came closer he saw they were his neighbors.  One of them continued, “We knew you’d been up here tending to your sheep.              When we saw the storm, we thought we’d better check to see if you’d made it home.  Mary was nervous, but she figured you were probably having to search for some strays.  She knew you wouldn’t be able to come home till you found them.  The fire was low so we replenished the wood supply.  Don’t worry about Jimmy, he’s been taking his medicine and his temperature is almost down to normal. Mary said you hadn’t eaten since lunch, so she sent you a sandwich and some hot coffee.  Why don’t you sit down and eat.  We’ll find the sheep.” The lantern brigade is the answer to every pastor’s prayer.  Many pastors are overburdened by time demands, exhausted from the effects of sin in the congregation, beaten down by their insecurities, worried about their own families, and forced to do the work of many. As football coach Bill McCartney said, “They’re overworked, under-compensated, under appreciated, beleaguered, and exasperated.”

God’s servants have paid a high price to follow orders.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. Just as Aaron and Hur secured the victory by holding up Moses’ arms, our families can hold up the arms of the pastors in our local church and join in the sacred mission that God intends to accomplish.

Be sure to thank your pastor(s) today for their great service in your life.

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