But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
For many years now, Pole Creek Baptist Church—where I serve—has observed “Pastor Appreciation Day.” The fact is that this congregation has shown appreciation to me and our other staff all year round. Recently, my wife has been ill, and since we have been home from the hospital, people have prayed for her, sent cards, made calls, offered to help around the house, and brought in meal after meal. That is but one example of the love relationship we have in our church. So, I am not writing to whine about mistreatment for our ministers. There are many churches, however, where the congregation does not show appreciation. They may instead be apathetic, and in too many instances even antagonistic toward their pastors.
This world is a battlefield and the church far too often resembles a circular firing squad with attack and counterattack among the members and ministers. Have we forgotten that the enemy is the infernal being called Satan, along with his minions? The army can’t afford to wound one another. Don’t miss that Paul concludes his call for pastor appreciation with this command, “Live in peace with one another.”
Paul lists several reasons why churches ought to appreciate their pastors.
Recognize them for their LABOR, “appreciate those who diligently labor among you….” We ought not reward anyone for laziness, but we should recognize those who labor. The pastor isn’t appreciated simply because of his title, but his testimony as a diligent worker.
Recognize them for their LEADERSHIP, “have charge over you in the Lord….” It is a grave responsibility to shepherd the flock of God. There are so many needs to meet and so many decisions to make, where a misstep can bring great misery. It is a continual burden that a pastor carries.
Recognize them for their LESSONS, “give you instruction….” The pastor must feed God’s sheep. He is entrusted with the faithful ministry of the Word of God. He is to be a man with a message conveyed in personal visitation and public proclamation. It meets an indispensable need in the members’ souls.
Esteem your pastors highly and love your pastors dearly. The church will profit and God will be pleased. This is the Word of God for the church.