“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.”
2 Thessalonians 5:12,13
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, says, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” That is true for every Christian, and yet there is a peculiar sense in which this applies especially to a Pastor. Timothy Sporrong, in speaking to a conference of ministers, said, “In pastoral ministry, you die a long slow death. Indeed, you die a little bit every day. You die from loneliness and from a pervasive sense of inadequacy. No matter how many solid relationships you have in the church, you are still the pastor, You are different. You are temporary, expendable. You are alone.”
I am sure the apostle Paul felt the same way. He says in 2 Corinthians 4:10, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus …” And Paul knows that every Pastor will feel this loneliness and this daily dying, and so He asks his brothers and sisters at the church in Thessalonica “to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.”
As you must be well aware of, we have been unusually blessed here at Newcastle with two godly Pastors who work hard among us. But theirs is not an easy task! The spiritual well-being of every member is always on their hearts and minds. All the struggles within the church become their struggles! I am sure they die a little bit every day! And so God’s Word comes to us today and exhorts us to “acknowledge them”! Drop them a card of encouragement! Send them an email of sincere gratitude! And hold them in the highest regard in love! Finally, pray for them! Pray that God would grant much fruit upon their labours for their encouragement! Pray that they would be strengthened daily by God’s grace for the task He has given them. And pray that all of us might be used of God to ease the load of our Pastors!
May God bless you, Pastor Jacques and Pastor Noel, and may He sustain you by His immeasurable grace!