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            Pastor Appreciation Month has come and gone.  I received an extra week’s paycheck during my first Pastor Appreciation Month.  The next year I received a check for $100.  The next year I got a nice thank-you note.  The next year I served another church. 

            The music minister at one church had the congregation stand and applaud me.  That was a bit awkward. 

            The gifts and kind words during Pastor Appreciation Month were always nice.  One of the nicest gifts I received was from the only daughter of a single dad.  They didn’t have much and frequented garage sales when they needed something new.  The girl found and bought a pen holder for me, minus the pen, inscribed with the words “World’s Greatest Pastor.”  I kept it on my desk not because I thought it was true, but because of what it cost them to give it to me. 

            I hope you received ample financial blessings, wonderful and memorable gifts, and lots of loving applause for Pastor Appreciation Month.  I am sorry if you didn’t.  Please know that although I am unable to award you with money or other gifts, I stand and applaud you.  For twenty years I lived through the ups and downs of pastoral ministry.  I’ve experienced the best and worst of times.  I know what you go through from week to week.  Thank you for who you are and for what you do.

            A dear friend serves a church in another association.  He received a call from one of his deacons late in Pastor Appreciation Month.  He and a couple of other deacons wanted to meet with him.  The meeting happened on his birthday.  Instead of a combination appreciation and birthday gift, the deacons wanted to set the record straight on some matters and to determine if the pastor could continue serving there.  The pastor and his family are devastated.

            You are the leader God has placed in your church at this time.  Serve Him with gladness.  Bless the world through your ministry.  Bloom where you’re planted.  Know that you are loved beyond measure by the same God who called you, equipped you, and placed you.  Know that not every award is handed out on this side of eternity.  Finish strong.  There is a well earned “Well done” for those who do. 

I appreciate you.

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