David Pressgrove: Have you thanked your shepherds this month?

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David Pressgrove

This week I received a well-timed message on Facebook.

It had been a long day of meetings and I wasn’t overly excited about the challenges ahead of me the next day. The message was from a former Young Lifer and he thanked me for walking alongside him and how much he appreciated it now that he was at a different stage in life.

I write this not to brag about how great I am, but because it sufficiently lead me into some thoughts on how October is pastor appreciation month.

Webster defines a pastor as “a person authorized to conduct religious ownership.” The definition fits our modern idea of the word, but biblically, “pastor” has more to do with compassion than authority.

The two times that pastor appears in the New Testament, it is translated from the Greek word “poimen.” The other 14 times poimen appears in the New Testament, it is translated to “shepherd.” Therefore, biblically speaking, a pastor’s role is similar to that of a shepherd.

To be honest, I have spent minimal time around sheep and maybe once in my life I talked to a shepherd, but my understanding is that a shepherd leads the sheep, cares for them and does what they can to provide for their needs. Jesus gives us an idea of what he expects of a pastor/shepherd during his conversation with Peter, recorded in John 21: 15-19.

Three times Jesus gives Peter three similar commands of “feed my lambs,” “shepherd my sheep,” and “feed my sheep.”

Basically, the conversation between Jesus and Peter is the first ordination service for the Christian Church. Jesus inducts Peter into the priesthood with the charge to care for the people he entrusts to him.

Who have been the Peters in your life?

This month has been deemed “Pastor Appreciation Month.” Why October? I have no idea.

I don’t suppose it’s a fabricated greeting card holiday because you don’t see too many “Pastor Appreciation” cards in the stores these days. But I digress.

I want to encourage you to take some time to think about those who have come alongside you in your life to spiritually feed and shepherd you. Is there a way you can thank them?

I have a list that I created that consists a couple of youth group leaders, some friends’ parents, a couple of coaches and of course several church pastors whom I hope to send a note of thanks.

Who knows, maybe sending a note will make their week just like the aforementioned letter did for me.

If you see me around town, do me a favor and ask me how I’m doing in appreciating my shepherds — it will be particularly fun if other people are around because they’ll have no idea what we are talking about.

At the same time, it will give me a chance to ask you if you have done the same.

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