Pastor Appreciation Month

It is nice to know that you are appreciated.

I forget how much thoughtful cards, purposeful comments, and “just because” gifts mean to the one receiving them.  A few years ago, ESPN did a feature on Peyton Manning’s letters.  Apparently he regularly sends out hand-written notes to fellow players and others in his life.  Recipients of his letters took turns reading portions of them for the interviewer and their emotions were readily apparent.  They were genuinely and deeply touched both by the contents of the letters as well as the thought and time that went in to writing them.

Two weeks ago I walked into our regularly scheduled “Birthdays and Anniversaries Breakfast.”  Typically I’ll stick my head in to the overly-crowded room, say hi, then return to the sanctuary (I don’t usually eat breakfast before church – too many “pre-game jitters” I suppose).  This particular Sunday, however, I stuck around a little longer because the family preparing the breakfast had made a delicious pumpkin dish and paired it with my favorite cider.  As I was munching away, I was greeted with a basket full of cards and another filled with baked goods.  I had forgotten that it was Pastor Appreciation Month.

It is nice to know I am appreciated.

The cards, comments, and gifts meant so much to me.  The past few weeks have been a mixed bag of joys and sorrows.  Their surprise came just when I needed it.  Their love – and, by extension, God’s – is a fountain of encouragement for me.  I am so blessed to serve here, especially for my first full-time appointment.

There are many instances when the Bible talks about encouragement, but this one from 1 Thessalonians 5 sticks out to me:

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

The folks here at Otterbein UMC are encouraging and building me up.  This week I am challenged to do the same.  Perhaps you will be too?

Who can you write a hand-written letter to?  Who has impacted your life and yet might not be aware of how they’ve shaped your life?  In an age of texts, facebook messages, and emails, a hand-written note goes a long way.  Set aside time today to write a note.  Get out that pad of paper, sharpen that pencil or click that pen, peal out an envelope and stamp, and send out a letter of encouragement.  Setting aside time for such an activity reminds me of the word “holy” – the setting apart of something/someone for God.  Indeed, perhaps such letters of appreciation are works of holiness.  Perhaps they are extensions of God.

Grace and peace my friends.

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