NOTE from Dr. Lawless. Today’s post is from Caleb Iversen, who works with me in the Pastors Center. He is preparing for the pastorate, and he plans to graduate with his BA/MDiv from SEBTS in December. He is a diligent worker and good thinker who loves pastors. I’m happy to recommend this post to you today.
2 Timothy is one of my favorite books in the Bible. The more I read it, the more I catch a greater glimpse of the intimate relationship that Paul shared with Timothy—his son in the faith. The letter has a sense of urgency, rawness, and finality as Paul shares his parting exhortations with his spiritual son. As I reflect on how grateful Timothy must have been for Paul, in the same way I am grateful for my pastors. In many ways, my pastors have been to me like Paul was for Timothy—spiritual fathers in the faith.
For this Pastor Appreciation month, I want to express a few reasons why I am thankful for my pastors using Paul’s words to Timothy: “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me” (2 Timothy 3:10-11).
- Pastor, I am thankful for your faithful teaching of God’s word. Each week, I have had the privilege of sitting under your faithful teaching of the Bible. Your preaching has been like a slow gospel drip that God has used to saturate my heart with a greater love for him. Thank you for teaching me about the beauty and majesty of Jesus Christ, the foolishness of sin, and the faithfulness of our Lord who always keeps his promises.
- Pastor, I am thankful for your Christlike conduct. You may not know this, but your conduct has helped me better understand what it means to be a godly man. By the way you greet members on Sunday morning, open up your home, or interact with your family, I have learned just as much if not more from your character as your teaching. Thank you for walking with integrity in an age where so many live double lives.
- Pastor, I am thankful for how you remind us there is a greater aim in life. Thank you for modeling what it means to live for the sake of God’s kingdom and not our own. You have reminded us that the most important thing is that we live for Christ—no matter what comes our way. In a culture that tells us to live for ourselves, you have shown us that there is a better way.
- Pastor, I am thankful for your courageous faith. Thank you for not being afraid to call us to repentance and to challenge us toward greater faith in Christ. Thank you for continuing to stand on God’s word even though you may receive criticism for doing so. You have modeled courageous faith for us despite challenging circumstances.
- Pastor, I am thankful for your patience with us. Sometimes we are hard-headed. Sometimes we are apathetic, and other times we are fully committed. Thank you for continuing to patiently care for us through the mountains and the valleys of life.
- Pastor, I am thankful for your sincere love for us. I am grateful that our church truly feels like a family. In hospital visits, counseling sessions, and members meetings you have shown that you really care for us. Thank you for modeling sacrificial and sincere love by the way you serve us every week.
- Pastor, I am thankful for your steadfast leadership. In an age of confusion and polarization, thank you for being a consistent voice to lead us toward Christ. In the recent years, you have had to tackle issues that no one could have prepared for. Thank you for remaining steadfast and faithful even in uncertain times.
- Pastor, I am thankful for your vulnerability and perseverance through suffering. I know that over the years you have experienced hardship in your ministry, family, and friendships. Thank you for showing us that Christ is your shepherd, too. Thank you that even through your suffering, you have reminded us that these are but light momentary afflictions which pale in comparison to the glory that awaits us (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Pastor, thank you. Your example in ministry encourages us to stand firm in our own faith. We don’t often say this enough, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate you. I hope you know that we thank God for you, and we are glad to have you as our pastor.