God has given me the ministry of encouraging pastors. Over the last two years I have received fifty-two emails from pastors whose hearts and lives are broken. They have told me they are discouraged because of all the criticism they receive. Joyce Landorf, a well known speaker and author says on one of her teaching tapes “I was in an airport and a lady came up to me and pointed to herself and said “Pastors and their wives need encouragement”. We are failing our pastors and their families by not encouraging them on a consistent basis. May God forgive us!
I have a very dear friend who is a pastor’s wife. She used to be my Sunday school teacher and has been on my mailing list for almost two years. It is because of her that I am able to share from my heart about my life. Several of you have sent me emails telling me how much you appreciate me sharing my personal life with you. Had it not been for my friend speaking from her heart and using personal illustrations in her Sunday school class, I would never have had the courage to speak from my heart. She told us that there was a time in her life when she was very depressed. The day she shared that is the day that I started really listening to her.
It is not enough to shake your pastor’s hand on Sunday after the sermon and then forget about your pastor for the rest of the week. Your pastor is on call twenty-four hours a day, deals with many difficult situations and goes to the hospital and makes home visits. Our pastors are human just like we are. They get tired and discouraged. They receive a lot of criticism and after a while, it really begins to hurt them. I have a dear pastor friend in Texas. He used to take me for rides on his motorcycle. His wife is one of my dearest friends. He has been such a source of encouragement to me but one day he told me that he had received so much criticism and so many people had told him that he was doing things wrong that he was seriously thinking about leaving the church. I told him that he could leave the church as their pastor, but that God would never take back the call for him to be a pastor.
Let’s become encouragers for our pastors. We may not agree with everything they do but it is not our place to judge them. The Bible clearly says “Touch not my anointed” (1 Chronicles 16:22). We need to pray for God to strengthen them, inspire them and comfort them. We should love them with the love of Jesus.
Also, we need to realize that their children are not perfect just because they are a preacher’s kid. It is not fair for us to expect their children to live up to our expectations. Instead of pointing the finger at your pastor’s children, you should be praying for them. Take time this week to send your pastor an email, letter, card, or call them and express your appreciation for their service to Jesus and to you.
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