Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17
Well, folks, it's November and I'm just dying to hear what you got your pastor for Pastor Appreciation Month.
Don't be modest. I know you're the kind of parishioners who appreciate your pastor every month, but it still is great for you to have done something special for him in October which was, as I say, Pastor Appreciation Month.
On the other hand, if Pastor Appreciation Month got away from you this year or if you're already wracking your brain thinking what to get him next year, then I have a few, humble suggestions of what you might not want to bestow upon your congregation's undershepherd.
First, don't buy him a Bible. Odds are he already has a Bible, which has a print size to his liking. If your pastor doesn't have a Bible, then maybe you need to start shopping for another church or spiritual leader.
Second, don't give him another plaque, picture or carving of Durer's "Praying Hands." Yes, it is a beautiful piece of work, and there is a wonderful story behind the praying hands, but a parsonage has only so many walls on which to hang things ... and he has to hang it because he doesn't want to appear unappreciative and offend you.
Third, don't give him something to eat that are leftovers you don't want. Yes, I know that sounds silly, but I remember the year goose hunting was spectacular and my entire freezer was taken up by 18 Canadian geese, which were given to us. Understand, I like goose, but when Pam puts goose-burgers on the table, well, that's enough of a good thing.
Now at this point you may be wondering: is he joking?
The answer to that question is yes, I am. No, I'm not joking about October being Pastor Appreciation Month, and I'm not joking about the freezer filled with Canadian geese. But when it comes to giving your pastor a present, you do what you think is right and best.
Of course, if you ask me what might qualify as being right and best, I have an answer.
The best thing my congregations gave me was their prayers. It was a joy knowing that every time I stepped into the pulpit a pretty big percentage of the congregation was praying for me. It took a lot of the pressure off me, and it put all of us on the same team headed in the same general direction.
And what should you do if you don't especially like your pastor?
Easy. Pray twice as hard. First, you should pray the Holy Spirit will allow the Lord's Word to penetrate your "upset" and let you zero in on the precious salvation story of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, which is being proclaimed. Second, you should pray that the pastor be guided to point with crystal clarity to the Redeemer.
I promise, if all our people gave prayer as their gift, it would have miraculous results.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have appointed undershepherds to share Your Word and proclaim the Redeemer. May I pray my pastor receive wisdom and discretion as He points God's people to their Savior. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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