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Pastor Appreciation Day

It seems as though every day on the calendar has been designated by someone for special recognition. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have been around for a quite a while, but now we also have Son’s Day and Daughter’s Day. There are also special days for grandparents, granddaughters, grandsons, and pets. May 29 of this year was National Hamburger Day, June 4 was National Donut Day, and July 18 was National Ice Cream Day—three of my favorites! And in the really-hard-to-believe category, there is also a National Broccoli Day!

For several decades now, October has been designated as Pastor Appreciation Month, with the second Sunday being Pastor Appreciation Day. Let’s think about that one.

Identifying the Pastors
Many folks are confused about pastors. A preacher is not a pastor. Pastor is from a Latin word. It means a shepherd. In the New Testament the shepherds are those otherwise called elders or overseers (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-2). They are charged with watching the “flock” of God’s people. The preacher or evangelist or minister has a different role. He is to preach the gospel (2 Timothy 4:2-4). The only time the word pastor occurs in most English translations is in Ephesians 4:11, where it is clearly distinguished from an evangelist. The word Paul uses there is elsewhere consistently translated shepherd.

Appreciating the Pastors
Now that we understand who the pastors are, they surely do merit our appreciation, and not just for a day or month. “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” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a).

When did you last express that appreciation, either to God or to them? Why not tell them that you prize them and their work? Surely they would be encouraged to hear that. They would also appreciate your prayers on their behalf. Most of all, you can encourage them by cooperating with them, by living peacefully with others, by being faithful, and by growing in Christ.

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