That's the Book: 1st Thessalonians
Ahhh it's October. The rush of back to school is over. The pumpkin spice is sneaking into every single thing sold anywhere. Christmas is still far enough off I can ignore my to do list a while longer. And October is Pastor Appreciation Month.
Seems like our society likes to mock, harass, ignore and abuse pastors. About the only time a pastor makes the news is when its bad news. And those pastors should be removed from the line of work. Its a holy and important calling. And frequently thankless.
The book of 1st Thessalonians is a letter from Paul to a church reminding them to take their relationships inside their church seriously. Much of the letter could be used as a sermon about pastor appreciation month.
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
See what I mean?
Just as a nursing mother. cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-8
Every year I get to participate as a member of the Pastor Appreciation committee at our local church. This year one of the things we did was invite people to share things they were grateful for about our pastoral team. I was amazed about how almost every single one was about a time a pastor shared in their lives. At hospitals and funerals and court rooms. The flashy ministries are fun. But the real work is the love.
For you now that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
Want to know what pastors want for Pastor Appreciation month? They want to see their people love Jesus. Really. A thank you is good. A card is nice. Everyone likes a gift. But what makes the ministry worth it is when they see people learn to love Jesus.
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
I'm a mom. I have two kids. When they are kind to each other I feel like I won the lottery. My guess is pastors feel the same way. When they see people in their communities working together, forgiving, helping or growing I'm guessing its the very best.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 These 5: 8-11
Practice gratitude this month. Send your pastor a note. Take your church staff a plate of cookies. Drop something in the offering with a grateful heart just to bless your team. I really don't want to do life without my church or the leaders who God has in place. Let's make the most of this October.
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always drive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 These 5:12-16
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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