I write this letter to pastors with tears literally in my eyes. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Whenever God means to make a man great, He always breaks him in pieces first.”
As a member of INJOY Stewardship Solutions, I get to have personal one-on-one conversations with over 1,000 pastors each year. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who stand in our pulpits each and every Sunday. There are several things I want to say to pastors as someone who sits in your church each week.
- I respect your competence. You are smart and the world’s best communicators. You have a supernatural ability to take a passage of biblical text and pull out the truths that bring us comfort and guide us toward right living.
- I respect your patience and kindness. You love us unconditionally in spite of our bad advise on how you should preach or lead the church.
- I respect your bravery. You do not shy away from tough passages which are not well-received in a politically correct culture.
- I respect your diligence. There are countless hard choices you are forced to constantly make.
- I respect your preparation. Every seven days you give us a fresh word from God.
- I respect your family. You live in a fishbowl and have to appear perfect.
- I respect your generosity. You love people so much you are willing to earn far below the level of your education so we can know God.
- I respect your compassion. Your knees are callused as a result of constantly praying for us.
- I respect your commitment to Jesus and His mission. Because you love Him so much you answered the call to go into an incredibly unstable profession.
- I respect your vision. You see those in your church as what they could be, not just what they currently are.
- I respect you for being by my side. Every significant moment of my life—salvation, baptism, wedding, hospitals, baby dedications, funerals. You were there.
- And I respect what no one sees. I respect the fact that you were broken to pieces by God. Personal Heartbreak. Sadness. Doubt. Disappointment. Devastation. Hurt Feelings. Sleepless Nights. Unspeakable Pain. You don’t talk about this part of your journey much. But one of the main reasons God uses you so effectively is you have been broken to pieces for His glory and our benefit and did not quit. You will finish this race.
And for this I say “Thank You.” And I and countless others will thank you every day for eternity because you were willing to pay a personal price others did not. And because you paid that price, I and others I love met Jesus.
You may not think anyone notices the price you paid. But this is not true. You are loved and respected. And I just want to say one more time to you and your spouse, “Thank You.”