Honoring and Loving Our Pastors
What does it mean to honor, appreciate, and love our pastors? Rev Anthony gives us some insights from the Bible.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (The Message), the Apostle Paul gives the following instructions to Christians,
“And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love! Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part.”
As we approach Pastors’ Appreciation Month in October, I would like to share three key thoughts the Apostle Paul articulates:
1. Honor our pastors
2. Overwhelm our pastors with appreciation
3. Get along with our pastors
1. Honor Our Pastors
Firstly, Paul instructs believers to honor pastors who labor diligently for their spiritual growth and obedience to the Lord. In 1 Timothy 5:17, Paul also reminds his ‘mentee’ and spiritual son Timothy to confer a double honor to those who preach and teach the Word of God.
In our present day and age, the calling and task of a pastor seemingly gets tougher as the expectations inside and outside of our churches are getting higher. We honor our pastors because we recognize that they are shouldering a heavy responsibility over the spiritual lives of our Christian brothers and sisters. We honor our pastors because we acknowledge that the work of reaching out to the lost souls of men and women is challenging in this day and age. We honor our pastors because they are chosen to defend, teach and preach that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
2. Overwhelm Our Pastors With Appreciation
Secondly, Paul instructs believers to overwhelm pastors with appreciation and love. This is an interesting thought as it speaks of expressing a strong emotion towards our pastors! It calls for believers to communicate their love and appreciation to pastors in a big and obvious way. I believe the key point here is to let our pastors be drenched by our words of encouragement and be engulfed by our deeds of love.
A pat on the shoulder, a nod of affirmation, a double thumbs up of approval, a small token of love are powerful expressions of appreciation for many pastors, if not all pastors. There is a Chinese idiom 礼轻情意重, which conveys aptly the meaning that the thought counts more than the value of the gift. We must always remember to give thanks and appreciation to our pastors as they serve and live sacrificially for the sake of the gospel so that many more souls might be saved.
3. Get Along With Our Pastors
Finally, Paul instructs believers to get along well with our pastors. Unity is a rare commodity which must be highly valued in the body of Christ and not be taken for granted. Obviously, Paul understood this important principle and took the shepherd and the sheep to task accordingly. The specific instruction here is for both parties to do their part and get along well with each other. Hence, we must always seek to get along well with our pastors to the best of our ability and do not allow ourselves to be used by the enemy to exasperate our spiritual leaders.
Hebrews 13:17—Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
Not only does frustrating our leaders “be of no benefit to you,” the real disadvantage is that it gives the devil, our common enemy a foothold to sow discord, create strife and bear unforgiveness in the body of Christ.
Therefore, I want to encourage all of us to hold our pastors with high regard as they continue to serve God faithfully to fulfill their spiritual calling.
Therefore, I want to encourage all of us to hold our pastors with high regard as they continue to serve God faithfully to fulfill their spiritual calling. Let us honor our pastors genuinely; let us overwhelm our pastors with much love and deep appreciation; and let us make it a point to get along well with our pastors. May God watch over all our pastors and bless them richly with His grace, love, and joy in this season.
Blessed Pastors’ Appreciation to all pastors and spiritual leaders!
Rev Anthony Chua is the senior pastor of Sembawang AG.