An Editorial by Pastor Larry Frazier
We observe holidays in our country for numerous reasons: to remember significant historical events, to annually observe days of reverence, to recognize loved ones in our lives, to have some days just for fun, and to honor people and their service. Pastor’s Appreciation Month (October) falls in that last category.
I suspect that Pastor’s Appreciation Month may be grouped, by some, with other celebrations such as Grandparents Day, Sweetest Day, and Administrative Professionals’ Day as having questionable origin. In a derogatory way, some holidays have been called “Hallmark holidays,” being popularized for the sake of profit. On October 11, 2007, Hallmark, the greeting card company, posted the following statement: “While we’re honored that people so closely link the Hallmark name with celebrations and special occasions, we can’t take credit for creating holidays.”
Christianity.com states the following: “In 1994, the American Christian organization Focus on the Family began promoting Clergy Appreciation Month as a national month of observance. In highlighting Clergy Appreciation Month, Focus on the Family sought to encourage the faithful to outwardly show their appreciation for religious leaders on a national level.” October was thus set aside as Pastor’s Appreciation Month.
Ultimately, calling on us to show appreciation to pastors comes from God. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.” 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”
Even though God has established and directed the pastoral office, there is a misunderstanding concerning the ministry. Some say that pastors only work on Sundays and they question what pastors do during the week. Speaking from experience, I’m sure for many pastors our weeks are filled with various activities. We visit hospitals and nursing homes, take Communion to shut-ins, conduct funerals and chapel services, have study time and sermon preparation as well as maintain a family life at home. Some pastors additionally have to balance these activities with a full-time job.
Pastors have to be prepared to visit and comfort members before and after surgery. It is not uncommon for pastors to receive phone calls at all hours of the day and night and sometimes make an unscheduled home visit. Neighborhood and civic activities often call for pastoral participation. Pastors have to operate in the present time with guidance from an eternal God that is from all time. Because the word of God was established in ancient times, some have accused pastors of being out of touch with modern life. In the seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus Christ prayed for himself and for believers of all times. Jesus’ Church is to be a praying, believing, forgiving, and loving Church. Jesus is the Great High Priest and He has promised to be with us always.
Pastor’s Appreciation Month is about thanking your pastor for being true to the word of God and preaching, teaching, and serving rightly, despite directions from the unbelieving world. Let us continue to pray and give thanks for our pastors.