Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13.7)
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13.17)
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (I Peter 5.2-3)
I suspect some poor, harried pastor somewhere concocted Clergy Appreciation Month. Yet, I’m supremely grateful for it. In nearly 15 years of ministry, I’ve never quite experienced the outpouring of love and creativity that I have this month. I hesitate to share it, for I know that there are a myriad of clergy who were not and are not appreciated this month, or at all. It’s a shameful sign of the times that most church members attend for what the church/pastor can do for them rather than considering the abundant and joyful opportunities through which “average” (is there really such a thing?!) saints can advance and extend the kingdom of Christ.
The people of Journey have overwhelmed my family this month. We arrived home on Saturday to find a gift basket full of goodies, including all kinds of cheese and crackers (we suspect they removed the wine, dadgummit!). Small things have created surprising impact: a Dad’s Place gift card, an Amazon.com gift certificate, a Wal-Mart gift card, a new Hummer H3 (just kidding, but wanted to check your envy level), cash for books!, an Old Navy gift card just for Carolyn, food, lunches, smiles, emails, and the list goes on. Really. At one point we even received a washing machine when they heard ours was broken; however, after plugging ours back into the wall, it’s worked fine ever since… (but the thought was a beautiful agitator of warm emotions).
I’ve continued my Friday Friend Challenge, and I plan on using several Bics over the course of this week in thank you notes.
However, the greatest reflection I have is not some Sally Fieldish declaration about how much I am liked. It’s simply this: I’m deeply grateful. It has never been about me. I know the real me all too well. To be appreciated by people is simply another affirmation to me of what incredible transformation can be wrought in an average 38 year-old earnestly seeking God’s glory daily. Being a part of a biblical community where love is practiced rather than talked about, where God is glorified passionately rather than gawked at passively is not just refreshing. It’s exhilarating.
Many thanks, church family. We love you dearly.