October is Pastor Appreciation Month.
Now, I'm sure it seems self serving for me to mention this, given that I'm a pastor, but I don't mean it to be. Don't get me wrong. I like the cards, emails and tokens of love and encouragement from the Life Spring congregation. It's always nice to receive a pat on the back or a kind word. But at Life Spring, they don't limit their expressions of appreciation to one month of the year. Week in and week out, month after month our folks are faithful to show their love and support to me as their pastor.
But it isn't just the kind words and sweet cards or even the gift certificates to my favorite restaurants that most reveal their appreciation for my service as their pastor (though, in case you wonder, those restaurants include K&M, Chili's and Mi Ranchito). It's in their response to the needs of a young couple bringing home their baby after spending his first five months in the hospital. It's the way they have reached out to the family that lost their home and most of their worldly belongings in a Friday night fire. It's their heartfelt prayers offered on behalf of a dear saint who had symptoms of cancer, and their exuberant joy when the diagnosis came back that all was well.
As a preacher, I love to proclaim the unsearchable riches of God's Holy Word. However, if such preaching is lauded on Sunday morning but ignored during the week, such preaching is in vain. If the fellowship is declared "sweet" in God's House but a fallacy in our homes, then it is meaningless.
So I am grateful that at Life Spring, the appreciation for their pastor is demonstrated in real and concrete ways through the manner in which we do life together. And the occasional card or gift certificate isn't bad, either.