October is Pastor Appreciation Month. I don’t know when this tradition started but I do know that every Christian magazine and book store catalog I get in the mail reminds me of this. Maybe Pastor Appreciation Month was around when I was a child and I just don’t remember. But this I do know, growing up I had immense respect for pastors, preachers and evangelist. In fact, everyone did. To be a man of God meant something. It seemed that everyone understood the high calling of these men. Do we now have to have a month dedicated to these men because society as a whole has disregarded them? Or is it because many do not live up to the high calling in which they have been called? Maybe a little of both? What a sad place we have come to.
Unless a person has been there or lived with someone who has, one could never understand the responsibility placed upon a minister. I’m not even talking about the physical or emotional demands, although they are usually great. What I’m talking about is the overwhelming accountability to stand before God and preach His Word. Do people realize how huge this is? James Chapter 3 tells us that they will receive the greater condemnation. Ezekiel Chapter 3 talks about the watchman and how if he fails to warn the wicked their blood is upon his hand. Hebrews 13:17 says that these men watch for our souls and must give account; for this reason we should obey and submit so that they can do it with joy and not grief, otherwise it is unprofitable for us. Do we understand this? These men will stand before God one day and give account for us. The weight is enormous.
When men of God stand before me I have one obligation and that is to determine if they are speaking the truth. That is all that matters. Is this man a false prophet or is he preaching true doctrine and correctly dividing the Word of God? If he is a true man of God and speaks, “Thus saith the Lord” then I better listen. For if I have a problem then in reality my problem lies with God himself, not the messenger. Oh dear friends, we as God’s people had better be careful.
I heard a story once about a man who asked his neighbor if he could borrow his lawnmower, to which the neighbor replied,
“No, I’m sorry you can’t. There are no direct flights from Chicago to New York today.”
He neighbor said, “What does that have to do with me borrowing your lawn mower?”
“Nothing,” he said, “but if I do not want you to borrow it, one excuse is just as good as another.”
You see, when a person does not want to hear the Truth of God proclaimed they will use any excuse, for one is just as good as another. Men will listen to our excuses but someday we will all stand before God and be without excuse.
Although it’s sad that we’ve come to this place a person who reads the Word of God really isn’t surprised. In Scripture every prophet of God who proclaimed truth and preached with boldness was hated and despised. (Hebrews 11:32-40) Jesus warned his followers “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (Joh 15:18-19) And Paul warns Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2Ti 4:2-4)
Has the time come? Ask a minister how many people will truly endure sound doctrine and see what he says. Oh, my heart breaks for the condition we are in. And yet I have a peace for my heart rejoices that there are still men of God worthy of appreciation……(October or not)!
“Let the elders that rule be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1Ti 5:17-19)