It must be a tough gig being a pastor. As someone reminded me, “terrible pay, but the retirement benefits are eternal.” Working weekends and a Godly number of public holidays. Possibly less time with your own family than you’d hope, given you’ve the whole family of Christ you’re ministering to and, like most families, we can probably be pushy, demanding buggers on occasion.
You probably get less thanks than you’d like, and, when you do, you have to do the modest, Christian thing and allow that it is God’s Holy Spirit at work, and nothing remotely to do with you.
Politely, I would like to advise all pastors, in fact anyone at all involved in pastoral care, that that is bollocks.
Accept all compliments gracefully when you receive them, but, please, accept them. Don’t brush them off. God may be working through you, but, boy, you have to allow it and, I sincerely pray, you are good at it.
Most caring flock members will let you know when we love a sermon because we want you to be encouraged. We want you to know that what you are doing makes a difference. Deflecting the compliment diminishes the grace in which it is intended.
Please, look us in the eye, say thank-you, then, if it makes if easier for you to deal with, throw a few mental words up to Him along the lines of, “Thanks for Your help, I think they got it. Don’t let me get all puffed up about it, but, wow, how encouraging to be complimented.” You can blush, too, if it helps.
Plus, not to put too much pressure on you, it’s the smallest, tiniest things that make the difference. Like me. A writer. Who, quietly impressed by my first phone call with the psychic, confident smart-alec pastor (SAP), let loose with a flurry of questioning emails.
The SAP replied, punctuation perfect.
To a writer, the correct use of an apostrophe can make or break a relationship. Imagine if the SAP, horrors, had replied, ‘Gr8 2 here from u.’ I’d have pressed delete, rolling my eyes.
When the SAP correctly used ’round for around, it was that perfect, tiny, correctly-used bit of typography that kept me reading.
Saved by an apostrophe. Good going God. And SAP.