Pastors Work Hard

August 2, 2014

Pastors Work Hard

            You may think that the pastor of a local church has an easy life.  That isn’t true of pastors who are honestly fulfilling their role.  To help you see what all is involved in the work of a pastor we need to consider the example of the Apostle Paul in the church at Thessalonica.  In      I Thessalonians 2:1-20 we see what Paul invested in the church in the short time he was there.

A pastor’s time is well spent.  In verse one Paul said, “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain.”  Our entrance in unto you means the time we spent among you.  He said it was not in vain.  Once my wife and I were visiting a church that was forced to close its doors because of financial reasons.  After the pastor preached his last sermon in the church he walked to a back bench that was unoccupied, sat down, and began to shed tears.  I went and sat by him and assured him that his ministry there was not in vain.  I told him he had touched many lives and had left Christians stronger than they would have been if he hadn’t spent time among them.  I told him that these Christians will go to other churches and be used of God in greater measure because of what he had invested in them.

At times a pastor must face contention.  Paul said, in verse two, that there was much contention.  Not everyone appreciates the work a pastor does.  Christianity is under attack.  The servant of God must be bold, as Paul said he was.  Your pastor is defending your right to live the Christian life. It isn’t easy to face contention.  At times pastors reach a breaking point and say, “I can’t take it anymore.”  Some leave the ministry when they come to that point.  For that reason,    you need to pray for your pastor, encourage him, and defend him when others speak against him.

A good pastor doesn’t exalt himself.  Paul said in verse 5 that he didn’t use flattery.  Flattery is an attempt to make people feel good about themselves.  For example, a pastor could tell his people what good Christians they are.  If they were as good as he would like to make them think they are, he wouldn’t need to be there.  A pastor does need to praise the church and express appreciation for what they do, but not to the extent of flattering them.  The motive behind flattery might be covetousness.  Paul said he didn’t use a cloke of covetousness.  A cloke is used to cover up covetousness.

In verse nine he said, “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”  Much of the work a pastor does isn’t seen by others.  A carpenter, for example, has something material to show for the work he has done.  That often isn’t true of the work of a pastor.  No one sees him laboring in his office.  He spends many hours each week praying, reading, writing, and searching for words to express what he wants to say to his people.  If he doesn’t spend that time, his sermons will be shallow.  He will repeat himself.  His people won’t be fed from the Word of God.

Another segment of a pastor’s time is spent working one on one with people, as seen in verse eleven.   “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.”  People need individual attention.  A good pastor makes himself available to his people 24/7.  People die at all hours of the day or night.

People call upon their pastor when they are under stress.  That is well and good, but we often overlook the fact that pastors also are often under stress.  Paul says that he exhorted and charged them.  People often need to be exhorted to do more and do better.  It is easy to give into the flesh and be lazy and apathetic.  The flesh is weak and often unwilling.  Some people don’t appreciate it when their pastor tries to motivate them to do something they don’t want to do.  The pastor suffers even more stress when he has to face a believer who has sin in his life.  The pastor has to plead with him to repent and turn from it.  Not all are willing to turn from their idols as the Thessalonians did. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”  People in our day aren’t worshiping idols, but they are letting other things occupy the place God should have in their life.

Another word the Bible uses in speaking of pastors is “elder.” That is the word found in I Timothy 5:17 where it says that those who rule well are worthy of double honor.  “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”  The words “double honor” can also be translated double remuneration.  A good pastor is worthy of both double pay and double honor. Pastors don’t rule as a king or dictator.  He is a servant of the Lord, but he does occupy a place of leadership in the church.

Be thankful for your pastor.  He watches over you as a shepherd.  He isn’t perfect; neither are you.  His prayer, and the longing of his heart, is that you might grow spiritually and mature.  If he corrects you for something, accept it graciously and thank him for calling it to your attention.  Fortunate are those who have a loving pastor who cares for their soul and to whom they can go for guidance.

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