Comfort on a Monday
For at least some preachers, on at least some Mondays, there is a battle to be fought all over again. The smoke and thunder of the previous day have cleared, and the world and the heart can seem very empty. One piece of advice that was passed on to me was this: “Never resign on a Monday.” Why? Because that is often the day when you question your calling, wonder if anything is worthwhile, and if anyone ever listens. The devil often exaggerates the difficulties and disappointments, and paints the world and the church in shadows. Encouragements remind a pastor of God’s gracious sovereignty: if he discovers that the sermon that felt dead in the study and deader in the pulpit was blessed to someone’s soul, he is reminded – to his great good – of the treasure that lies in the earthen vessel.
That’s why encouragements are sweet to pastors. You don’t need to gush; you certainly should not flatter. But sincere words of genuine appreciation can be a real blessing to his heart. My friend Brian Croft has some excellent counsel on encouraging your pastor, and it is worth considering and practicing.
That’s why, a week or so ago, I was relieved and grateful when two friends drew to my attention an article at Conrad Mbewe’s A Letter from Kabwata blog. Conrad has a fascinating series there called “The sermon that changed my life.” On this particular Monday, I was directed to the memories of a young woman called Comfort Mulenga. I won’t say the gloom lifted immediately, but at least after a while I was able to say, “Well, at least someone, somewhere, once listened!” So, although she may not be aware of it, “Thank you, Comfort.”
You may not write an essay; you certainly do not need to. But even a few words like this might be God’s means of helping your pastor recover from his labours, lifting his heart up to God. They will never, in a true man of God, be a reason to become casual, lazy, and presumptive. Rather, with a renewed sense of his own unworthiness and gratitude to the Great Shepherd, he will go to work all the more willingly and expectantly: “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1Thes 2.19).