What Happens When A Church Honors Their Pastor?
By Greg Sanders
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
It seems like for the last few years the news has been littered with stories of pastors taking advantage of their positions and living off of extravagant salaries. There seems to be a pattern of exploitation among ministers that causes questions in the hearts of many on-lookers. Let me just go on the record and say that those instances are few and far between, especially when you consider the hundreds of men and women laboring for the cause of Christ who are unknown and underappreciated by those around them. Most ministers serve in their capacity only because they have a sincere call by God and sincere desire to do so.
What happens though, when those who are sincerely serving the cause of Christ are sincerely honored by a congregation? This topic is on my heart today because the church where I serve went above and beyond to honor me and the staff who serve with me. This is pastor appreciation month and our church family beautifully honored my family and staff with both words of appreciation and meaningful gifts. So I want to give a little insight into what happens when such sincere acts of love occur and what such actions mean to both the health of the church and the health of the pastor.
First, when a church honors their pastor they are being obedient to Scripture. 1 Timothy 5:17 tells those who invest their lives in the work of ministry are worthy of honor. This honor is due to them not because of who they are alone, but also because of their works’ sake. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 says “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” When you honor those who God has placed among you to minister, you are opening a door in which God can bless you. He always honors obedience.
Secondly, Hebrews 13:17 speaks of the reality that honoring your pastors brings joy to their service. Pastors receive two sources of joy as they serve. First, they receive the fulfillment of doing what God has entrusted them to do. This brings a joy that cannot be found anywhere else. Secondly, they also receive joy from those they minister to as they express appreciation for the service that has been rendered to them. A minister can survive on either source for a season, but it takes both for a minister to thrive long-term. When you honor the man or woman God has placed among you, you are refreshing their soul. This encourages them to continue their service to the Lord with fervor.
Thirdly, when you honor your pastor, he feels the weight of the awesome responsibility granted to him by the Lord. The love you pour out on him serves as a reminder of the love of Jesus that first called him into service. Your honoring him will cause gratitude to spring up not just towards you, but also toward the Lord. Your honor serves as a display of God’s faithfulness in your pastor’s life. Jeremiah 3:15 states “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Your pastor is not perfect. However, when you honor him you are honoring the heart for ministry God has placed in him.
Today’s Challenge: Realize you never go wrong when you honor those ministers God has placed in your life. If you have not appreciated those that God has placed in your life, do so today.