Thank you, Pastor!

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

In a recent session of the 116th Congress, Congressman Ted Deutch offered a public commendation in honor of the ministers, pastors and priests in his district. It was done in acknowledgement of Clergy Appreciation Day (also known as National Pastor Day) which annually falls on the second Sunday of each October. October is also nationally recognized as Clergy Appreciation Month, and congregations hold special services, events or activities to honor their ministers for the spiritual guidance and leadership that they give. Many of them provide valuable influence and service to the larger communities in which they minister as well. We are blessed to live in a nation that recognizes the significance of the faith community to the overall well-being of society. The work and influence of ministers, in general, should not be discounted because of the negative reports of some that occasionally make news headlines.

The Bible provides numerous descriptions of the qualifications and work of ministers. One of my favorites is Jeremiah 3:15,And I will give you pastors according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” In Jeremiah’s day, God was unhappy with His people’s rejection of the covenant relationship He had established with them, in favor of worship and allegiances with foreign deities. Much of their unfaithfulness was caused by leaders who led the people astray (see 2:8). After calling them to account, God promised to provide shepherds (leaders and pastors) who would give proper guidance to the people. In a recent pastor’s installation service, I shared three considerations from God’s description of pastors in Jeremiah 3:15. True pastors will fit and model this description.

Pastors are assigned by God. The clear revelation of Scripture is that pastors are called and assigned by God to proclaim His word, minister to His people, and lead His church. As Moses and Joshua were called by God to lead Israel in the Old Testament, and the disciples and Paul were chosen by Jesus in the New Testament, so, too, God still calls men and women to serve today. No one can call and confirm himself to any function or ministry of the pastorate. Evidence of God’s call must be recognized by others and confirmed by the church. God says, “I will give you.” Though the function of pastors may appear to be a job, and some may make it a career, the truth is that the pastor is fulfilling a divinely ordained assignment. He functions in response to an undeniable calling upon his life. He goes where he goes and does what he does because he is assigned by God.

Pastors have God’s heart. They serve according to God’s will and function in a manner to His liking. Since they are called by God, they are duty bound to serve according to His word and His way. Though they may serve the people, they serve in the interests of God. They must, therefore, be God-pleasers not men-pleasers. Pastors after the people’s heart will tickle their ears but pastor’s after God’s heart will touch their souls. Pastors after the people’s heart will give them what they want, but pastors after God’s heart will give them what they need. Pastors after the people’s heart will change their messages to fit the times, but pastors after God’s heart will proclaim the timeless truths of an unchanging God. Pastors will one day give account to God for their service. They must, therefore, faithfully proclaim God’s word, promote God’s interests and represent God’s heart.

Pastors feed God’s people. Like a shepherd who provides green pastures for the nourishment of his flock, so the pastor feeds God’s people with the milk, bread and meat of God’s word – the Scriptures. His sensitivity to the heart of God will enable him to communicate spiritual truth to the human condition. Faithfully preaching and teaching God’s word will turn converts into disciples and believers into mature saints. Jeremiah 3:15 notes that pastors will feed God’s people with knowledge and understanding. This enables them to become like the sons of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32) who understood the times and knew what to do. Don’t underestimate the value of your pastor to your life. Appreciate his spiritual guidance. Take time to give honor and thanks for his service.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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