(Rom 1:12) that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
You hear it often how pastors need encouragement and how we should pray for them and their families and let them know how much they are appreciated. What a shot in the arm this is for the shepherd of God’s flock. How encouraging and how it fires him up to keep serving the Lord. But did you know pastor appreciation is mutual? It is because in his heart he carries a constant sense of appreciation and admiration his flock.
That’s how Paul felt with the Romans. He said that faith in Christ was mutual between flock and shepherd. There is shared encouragement that goes both ways. So in a sense pastor appreciation is not only the flock encouraging the pastor but the pastor appreciating his flock.
As I look at my flock I appreciate each sheep God brings into the fold. I appreciate them first of all for who they are in Christ, their love for the Lord, and for what I can learn from their Christ-like character. Each one so unique and so gifted by the Lord. I appreciate them also for their service for Christ, their willing hearts, and how they do all things for the glory of the Lord and not man. They inspire me for greater service for Christ.
This feeling carries into certain settings such as in the church office. Among the staff and leadership of the church we talk about the sheep. In reviewing the services or discussing the week, certain members of the church are brought into conversation. We talk about what a blessing so and so is and how we thank God for them. It’s like Paul said to the Philippians . . . I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. (Phil 1:3)
There is a setting also at home between pastor and wife. Much discussion is caught up in rehearsing certain happenings within the church ministry. And since ministry is people and not programs, individuals are emphasized in conversation with much respect and admiration.
So I guess what I am saying is . . . I appreciate and thank God for my flock. And I hope every pastor feels the same as I do. And the ultimate appreciation goes to the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. Through His example we are taught to love and serve one another with a love you just can’t get out in the world.