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We should show our pastors appreciation

O

ur congregation is in search of a pastor/shepherd/preacher. A special group of people are diligently praying and seeking the right leader for our flock. As I’ve prayed for this group, I’ve had time to recall pastors in the congregations in which I’ve been a part. In my extended years of church attendance there have been a lot to stand behind the pulpits.

   There have been gentle, soft-spoken ones — men who have been gifted at proclaiming the love of Jesus. Then there have been those who were best at reminding me of my distance from God. I needed both, but a blend of their preaching would have been my first choice.

I recall childhood preachers who lulled me to mental wandering. Surely they were proclaiming the gospel that I needed to hear, but somehow it was beyond my comprehension or interest which led me to doodling on paper (if my parents weren’t looking) or daydreaming about crawfish holes and playhouses. Hopefully, God seared those deeper messages into my young heart that would surface with later maturity.

There were preachers known for their lengthy messages. When those men stepped into the pulpit, all of us kids would sigh and prepare for the “journey.” Occasionally they would make comments about finishing early, but their early and my early came from different planets.

During my younger years I highly endorsed the 20-minute sermonette preachers, but they were few and far between. The adults never appreciated the mini-sermons like we kids did.

   My favorite pulpiteers were those invited to help us seek revival. Some had a flair with the kind of clothes they wore which made the sermons take on an added interest. Then while I thought I was being entertained with their professional exposition, they would share stories that would rivet my heart and hold my attention like a vise.

Those series of sermons usually came in the late summer, and one thoughtful lady would always place a tall glass of water near or on the pulpit. It didn’t bother me unless he paused to take a gulp or two. After that my throat dried up, and I longed for a glass as tall as the preacher’s. Longing was my only alternative because my parents never condoned our having to disturb the service by making bathroom exits.

Occasionally we would have visiting preachers that were better at joke-telling than they were at expounding the Word. The gifted preachers were those that would grab your attention with a light-hearted story and suddenly switch, mainstream, into a convicting, heart-moving message.

I look forward to having our “own” shepherd again. He will definitely be special just to embrace the calling and profession of preacher because our social climate isn’t nearly so appreciative of their high calling as it once was. Recently I heard a pastor encouraging fellow-pastors and reminding them that the world would like to remove them from society, but the world didn’t realize that the proclamation of the gospel is the primary source of holding back the darkness.

   I’m convinced. Pastors/preachers/shepherds need a lot more appreciation than what their congregations extend to them one month out of the year because darkness is the greatest danger we face.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.