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Those attending services at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Wildwood, Missouri, were treated to two outstanding messages from the Word of God yesterday; one from Pastor Johnson, and the other from missionary to Africa, Garry Castner. Following the services, I made it a point to thank them for their ministry of the Word to me and to the church. I’ve made a habit of doing this throughout my Christian life.

I think every member of every Bible believing, Bible teaching church should conscientiously and deliberately, and with some degree of regularity, thank those who minister the Word of God to them – especially their pastors. There are two reasons I believe this is important. Here they are:

FIRST, IT ENCOURAGES YOUR PASTOR, when you thank him for his sermon. Did you know that your pastor needs encouragement just like everyone else? Are you helped by encouragement? Apply this self-knowledge to your pastor. It’s in the best interest of everyone in a church to encourage their pastor; it will bring the best there is in him, out of him, to the benefit of all who sit under his ministry of the Word.

This matter of encouragement is yet another area where “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8). The ancient philosopher Ovid said, “The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.” Financier and philanthropist, Charles Schwab counsels business leaders everywhere that, “The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.” More significantly, and to the point is what the Bible has to say along these lines concerning pastors: It says, “esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thess. 5:13). Don’t underestimate the value of the encouraging words you speak to your pastor: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov. 25:11).

Your conscientious kindness where your pastor is concerned will make him more conscientiously kind where you are concerned. It will make him, for your sake, more sensitive to mistakes he may make in his ministry, more determined in his efforts to improve his ministry, and by God’s grace, be the best pastor he can be to you and yours.

SECONDLY, IT WILL ENNOBLE YOU as you form the habit of – more often than not – thanking the pastor for his sermons. It expresses your assumption that he has prayed and labored over the work he is doing in the pulpit. This in itself indicates that you are putting into practice what is written in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Proverbs 15:23 says, “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Matthew Henry has some comments on this verse that may help you understand the good you do to yourself by verbally encouraging your pastor: He says, “we speak wisely when we speak seasonably: The answer of the mouth will be our credit and joy when it is pertinent and to the purpose, and is spoken in due season …Many a good word comes short of doing the good it might have done, for want of being well-timed. … If we speak wisely and well, it will redound to our own comfort and to the advantage of others.’’

A man once said that he saw no need to thank his pastor for preaching the Word that God has given to us, and for simply doing his duty. This same man, after eating a meal in a friend’s house would profusely thank his host for the preparation and delivery of the food that God had provided. He will even tip a waiter who has simply performed the duty that his position required him to do. He failed to understand that the preparation and delivery of the sermons he heard was worth far more consideration than a plate of bacon and eggs or a hamburger.

Throughout my Christian life, I have found it to be a sad, and in some ways an outrageous thing, that only a very few people give their pastor a warm handshake and an expression of appreciation for his sermons. This is true of old and young alike. Such was not the case in days gone by, but it is in keeping with the selfish, shallow, thankless age we now live in that so many church members in so many churches, however unconsciously, treat their pastor as though he were the invisible man, after he has fed them richly from the Word of God.

Form the habit, regularly and frequently, of thanking your pastor for his sermons. Let others see you do it. Teach your children to do it. It’s a scriptural thing to do, and a smart thing to do.

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