6 Let him who is taught the Word share in all good things with him who teaches. Galatians 6:6 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
Well, the month of October is here, and that means it’s “Clergy Appreciation Month.” Now, bit of a disclaimer here. I’m not fishing around for a present or Hallmark card from any of you–or even from my own congregation, for that matter. My congregation takes good care of my family and me. I’m writing this to remind you to do something for your own pastor.
I’ve been in the ministry a long time, and I know a lot of preachers. I rub shoulders with a lot of men who love the Lord deeply and who work hard in His service. But I want to let you in on a little secret. Of all the pastors I know, I’ve never known even one who did not have times of great discouragement. I’ve never known one preacher who did not at some time seriously consider quitting the ministry.
The ministry is a blessed life, but it’s not always an easy life. Pastors (and their families) have all the exact same troubles you have. But on top of that, they have what the Apostle Paul calls “the care of all the churches.”(1 Corinthians 11:28) People sometimes joke that the preacher works “only one day a week.” But in reality, the ministers I know are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The person who has the hardest job of all is the pastor’s wife. She shares her husband with the whole world and listens to all his problems. Think of how hard it is for you to take care of your kids by yourself during a worship service. The preacher’s wife never has her husband sitting by her in the pew to help with the children. He is always in the pulpit!
Mother Angelica (the feisty old nun who shares her lessons of everyday faith on the EWTN channel) says that we all ought to be united with our pastors:
I don’t care who he is, what he is, what he does, or what he doesn’t do. I’ve had people say, “Oh, but if you lived under my pastor, you wouldn’t say that.” Do you ever think what a sick heart he has? How lonely he is? What suffering he might have had in his life that made him what he is? And no matter what you do, somebody is unhappy with you. You can’t stand criticism on a little level; can you imagine what they endure? You need to develop a spirit of compassion so deep that it embraces the whole world. Laity and clergy must be united in spirit for the greater glory of God.
Dear mamas, the Holy Scriptures exhort that all those who are taught God’s Word should “share all good things” with their teachers. So do something nice for your pastor and his wife this month. Whatever you choose to do will give them joy. (Susan and I still smile about the little girl many years ago who “gifted” us with her tonsils in a Zip-Lock bag after the surgeon removed them. Now, that was a gift of love!) And never disregard the great help given to Christian workers by the smallest word of encouragement. Most of all, remember to lift them up before the Lord in prayer. What a blessing you are to the Lord’s sheep when you encourage and strengthen His shepherds!
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the parishioners are faithful to show their appreciation.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.