17 Obey those who [a]rule over you, and be submissive,
for they watch out for your souls,
as those who must give account.
Let them do so with joy and not with grief,
for that would be unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
Well, I’m going to give you an assignment today. From now on, it’s your job to take good care of your preacher. I’m a pastor on sabbatical right now, kind of in between church assignments. If that weren’t the case, you could charge me with trying to solicit gifts for myself. But clearly, this isn’t about me today. I’m looking out for all my fellow pastors out there.
I’ll tell you where I first got this idea. A preacher-friend of mine was between churches, and he made his home in my congregation. And while he was with us, he took good very good care of me — his pastor. He invited my family to his home, and we often ate with his family. He bought me a grill for my patio so I could cook hamburgers. (This was above and beyond!) Whenever he read something inspiring, he was prompt to share it with me. He was kind, and thoughtful, and attentive to the nth degree. The thing that meant the most to me was his constant love and encouragement. And he prayed for me daily.
He told me, “Bro. John, I when I was in the pastorate, I always said that if I ever had a preacher, I was going to take care of him.” And he was faithful to his word.
Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) has a lot to say about this principle. It points out that preachers have extraordinary demands because they “must give account” to God. In his Epistle, James says that God’s teachers will be judged with “a stricter judgment.” (Let me tell you, firsthand, that this is a sobering responsibility.)
So, today’s text is saying that when we help our pastors, we do a very good thing. Each day we’re making the choice of being “a joy” to them instead of being a pain.
Since God has given me this time of rest in my life, I now have pastors who care for my soul. They are a great source of comfort, edification, and encouragement. I’m going to do my best to take care of my pastors, too.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas and has spent the last 34 ½ years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s currently on a sabbatical from the preaching ministry, and is an English teacher at the Choctaw Tribal School. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the Preacher finally gets students at school tomorrow.) You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.