Tag Archives: Sunday

Pastor Appreciation Day

Yesterday morning, while doing the announcements, I mentioned that I had just looked at the calendar on my phone and next Sunday was marked as Pastor Appreciation Day. So, I told the congregation. Afterward, someone said to me, “What’s going on? That’s not like you to mention something like that.”

And it’s true. I don’t normally.

When I first learned of Pastor Appreciation Day, I joked that it sounded like something Hallmark made up in order to sell more cards. I had no idea how correct I was. According to nationaldaycalendar.com:

“Clergy Appreciation Day was originally called Clergy Appreciation National Day of Honor.  The day was started by Hallmark Cards in 1992. Many people also refer to the day as Pastor Appreciation Day.”

Christianity.com adds this summary:

“October is national Clergy Appreciation Month, a time set aside to recognize the contributions and service of pastors, priests, reverends, ministers, and all other clergy members. Within Clergy Appreciation Month is Pastor Appreciation Day. Pastor Appreciation Day (also referred to more generally as Clergy Appreciation Day) falls on the second Sunday in October.”

Apparently, Focus on the Family also began emphasizing Pastor Appreciation Month in the early 1990s, Now, my natural tendency is to ignore such things as sub-biblical modern inventions designed to sell greeting cards. I mean, look — I get a regular paycheck for my work at GCA. We never argue about money and I manage to live on whatever they give me. The very fact that I’ve been the pastor there for nearly 19 years shows that they appreciate me. Besides, I thought, I’m nothing special. I mean, I don’t even insist that people refer to me as “pastor.” Most folk just call me Jim. I don’t deserve a day of appreciation.

Oh … and I was wrong.

Here’s what I mean. When Paul was under arrest in Rome, the church at Philippi sent him a gift via Ephphroditus. That inspired Paul to write what many commentators have referred to as “the joy letter.” In it, Paul wrote —

You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Phil. 4:15-20)

Paul was not seeking the gift, but he knew it would profit those who sent it. Their gift was “an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” It was to their own benefit that they loved and appreciated the man who brought them the gospel of Christ.

When writing to the church at Thessalonica, Paul wrote —

“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, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” (1Thess. 5:12-13)

To Timothy he wrote —

“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. “ (1Tim. 5:17)

To the Galatians he wrote —

“The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.” (Gal. 6:6)

And to the Ephesians, Paul wrote that leaders in the church are a gift from God —

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

According to James, pastor/teachers are under a great weight —

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”  (James 3:1)

So, maybe a little appreciation seems appropriate. Now, let’s be clear. It’s not about money. It CAN be, but not necessarily. It’s about honor, respect, gratitude and recognition. Like Paul, I’m still not looking for a gift. But, as I’ve learned from Paul, I would never want to deprive the giver from the joy of giving. After all, sending sweet aromas into the nostrils of God can’t be bad. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.

But, the point of this blog post is actually much larger than that … larger than me. This made-up day presents us all with a teachable moment.

If God has been kind enough to you that He did not leave you to your own understanding; if He has provided you with someone whom He ordained and guided into a comprehension of His word and the ability to convey it; if He brought someone into your life to instruct, reprove, and guide you in the faith once delivered to the saints …

then that’s a gift. Say “thank you.”

I’m fortunate. Because of our Internet presence, I’ve been able to make my living preaching the word. “So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.” (1Cor. 9:14).
I am very grateful for the people who continue to find value in what GCA is doing. They keep us going by their generosity and obedience to God’s instruction to give to those who teach the word.

BUT — I know plenty of pastors who are not so fortunate. Bi-vocational men who labor in the word and then labor in the world. Men who are devoted to their calling and who depend on their own ability to work and earn a paycheck to continue in their ministerial work. Being a pastor isn’t easy in the best of times. It’s particularly hard on those who are juggling family, bills, work, and ministry. It’s easy to burn-out.

Whoever and wherever you are, if you have a loyal pastor in your church gathering, it seems completely right, appropriate, and biblical that you would appreciate him. So, tell him.

And don’t tell him just because Hallmark said to. Loving someone who watches for your soul seems completely sensible. I have had several pastors in my life. And they have all contributed something to my growth and development as a Christian person. I owe them a debt of gratitude.

So, take advantage of this made-up day of appreciation. Wear it like training wheels. And then learn to appreciate the gifts that God gives every saint in His body. Look after one another, love one another, be thankful for one another, and be diligent to keep the bonds of love and peace.

In other words, BE THE CHRISTIAN. And, one facet of that is appreciating those who lead in the church.

Janine says Americans have too many made-up-holidays. She’s probably right. But, I’m going to go on record as saying that this one — Pastor Appreciation Day — is a good reminder.