At Jesus’ baptism we see the Father affirming Jesus calling down from heaven, “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Can you imagine the power in those words? The affirmation of God and of his Father all in one would carry such an encouraging nature not many of us would be able or willing to resist.
We see Jesus through his recorded time on earth reacting to the situations He faced in ways very much like you or I would react. So many things that point to his humanity such as his birth from a woman, Mary; being hungry and tempted, and when in great turmoil sweating and pleading with God to take the cup from Him. Yet, one doesn’t have to go far to find examples of Jesus’ divinity throughout scriptures.
Referencing Jesus’ coming to earth John starts his Gospel trying to grasp these two distinct natures. John 1:14 reads, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus was fully God and fully man. Two natures in one person.
If you think of our pastors, this same bi-natured sentiment comes through; fully pastor and fully human. Jesus was tasked with the spiritual salvation and restoration of all humanity. Our pastors are tasked with doing everything they can so that their church family will hold on to the faith they have been taught; to encourage, to build up and grow the seeds of faith planted in the hearts of their people. An impossible task outside of the Spirit that lives in them; fully Pastor.
And fully human, often left hungry for days. Hungry for fellowship as a human instead of as a pastor. Consider this when you see your pastor in the grocery store or at the bank. Who are they? Pastor (fill in the blank with their name). Their title carries with them everywhere, always. They are pastor, and many of them take great care and pride in that. But it comes at a cost. They are always seen as pastor, as someone who is full of energy and willingness to lay down their lives to pour into everyone else, all the time. Fully human; but they, just like all of us, can become empty. If you pour water from a jug long enough, that jug will eventually be empty.
Ironically, it is customary to complain if we don’t like something. We have a right to, and many times we feel an obligation to do so in order to correct the situation and to protect others from experiencing the negative thing. When talking with pastors, that is often the voice they hear – the negative. Even when there are hundreds of voices saying, “with you I am well pleased.” Those encouraging and affirming voices are not often spoken to our pastors. Can you imagine the power in those words – the affirmation of a church member and of a friend? Words of affirmation for the pastor, and for the person.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, which provides the reminders and opportunity to affirm and care for our pastors. This month, join us in acknowledging the person that is your pastor. Speak words that encourage and empower.