Pastor, We See You
October ushers in changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and cooler weather. It also ushers in a time to celebrate and appreciate our pastors. October is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. Many congregations are unaware that such a month exists. Most pastors are never going to publicly announce, “Hey guys, this month is Pastor Appreciation Month and I can really use some encouragement!” As the wife of a pastor, my heart aches for my husband and other pastors who labor tirelessly for the Lord and often face more critiques and complaints than encouragement.
This month, I want to let every pastor out there know that you are seen by God and appreciated. One of my favorite shepherd leaders from the Bible is Moses. Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and bring them into the promised land of Canaan. The task was heavy and filled with numerous obstacles but God remained faithful to Moses. Just like Moses, Pastors, you have been given the heavy task of leading people out of their spiritual bondage into restored fellowship and freedom with Jesus. You have faced similar obstacles like Moses but I want to remind you that God is faithfully walking with you. As pastors, you are already familiar with the life of Moses but I want to encourage you by revisiting his life.
God Has Called and Qualified You
When the Israelites groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help, I speculate they might have imagined God sending the most eloquent and confident person for the job. Instead, God calls Moses, a man who was slow of speech and of tongue (Ex. 4:10). Moses doubted his ability to live out this calling, but God was not concerned about his doubt. God called Moses despite his shortcomings and insecurities. He patiently walked with Moses, instructing and training him for the task at hand.
Pastors, your lack of skill, learning disabilities, fears, and uncertanties do not erase the fact that God has called you to this position.
Pastors, your lack of skill, learning disabilities, fears, and uncertainties do not erase the fact that God has called you to this position. He has qualified you and will continue to qualify you as you seek His face.
Communing With God Will Carry You Through the Pain
Moses was critiqued the entire time he led the Israelites. As they were fleeing the Egyptians and faced the Red Sea, they criticized him. When they crossed the Red Sea and experienced freedom for the first time ever, they quickly complained. As Moses led them through the desert, they questioned his authority and flat out rebelled against him. Even his own brother and sister opposed him.
Through it all, Moses never stopped communing with God. He always turned to the Lord for help and to intercede for those who rebelled against him. His relationship with God grew stronger even when Moses responded in sin when he was angry with the people. God encouraged Moses, He forgave him, and continued to speak intimately with him.
Some of the greatest hurt experienced in church happens to pastors. Like Moses, you obey the Lord but receive the deepest wounding from the ones you are called to lead. Pastors, don’t neglect to commune with God because He wants to heal your pain and speak tenderly to you.
Pastors, don't neglect to commune with God because He wants to heal your pain and speak tenderly to you.
You Experience God Differently Than Those You Lead
God revealed things to Moses that He did not reveal to the people. He spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai but the people were not invited up. God comes down in a thick cloud at Mount Sinai so that the people can hear Him speak with Moses and believe Moses (Ex.19:9). However, the Israelites are terrified in Exodus 20:19 and say to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses tells them not to be afraid but the people respond by standing far off. Moses didn’t stand far off, but instead drew near to the thick darkness where God was (Ex. 20:21).
Every time I read this passage, I am inspired by the intimacy between Moses and God. Moses’ deep love and trust for God led him to draw near the thick darkness where God was when others stood far off. Pastors, many people in your congregation stand far off when God calls them closer. You get to experience the thick darkness of God’s presence.
I pray that as you pastor your congregation, the Lord continues to strengthen you for the journey ahead. Like Moses, I pray the Lord gives you long life, and when your time comes to transition to our eternal home, I pray your eyesight is clear and you are as strong as ever (Deut. 34:7).