And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. (1 Samuel 23:16 NIV)
When I accepted the position of Executive Director for Louisiana Baptists, I made this promise:
Pastors will be encouraged. Churches are essential to our work, and spiritually healthy pastors are essential to healthy churches. I have been a pastor of four churches. Each church was a different size and had different strengths and weaknesses, but all required hard work. I want to encourage pastors through public ministry to them and private friendship with them to be all that God has called them to be. This will be my daily prayer, daily goal, and daily evaluation.
Years ago, I heard the Christian motivation speaker Zig Ziglar speak. The only thing I remember him saying is, “Who motivates the motivator?”
We could adjust the words slightly to say, “Who encourages the encourager?” Who preaches to the preacher?” “Who ministers to the minister?” “Who counsels the counselor?” “Who pastors the pastor?”
Your pastor needs all of this. We all need a Jonathan to come alongside of us to help us find strength in God.
My friend Scott, at the time a doctoral student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was taking his written examinations. Written examinations—a grueling three-day test of perseverance—occur half-way through the doctoral program. This three-day period can be a very lonely experience. Another friend of ours knew that Scott was taking these tests. He arranged with the professor to put a note in Scott’s test packet. The note simply read, “Scott, here’s a dollar. When you have your break today, buy a soda on me. I’m praying for you.”
That story has always reminded me that encouragement does not have to be expensive, just thoughtful and intentional.
I pray that all of us find meaningful ways to encourage our pastors this month.