Believe it or not, I am a pastor. No, not that kind of pastor. I don’t preach every Sunday. In fact, I usually don’t even wear a coat and tie. I don’t get paid by the church. But, for some reason, the church has recognized me as one of their pastors. (We currently have two. We have had as many as four. We are currently praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit in order to recognize one or two others.)
Recently, we have been discussing “vocational pastors” or paying pastors. As almost everyone that is a part of our church knows, I am not for paying pastors a salary. However, I do believe it is biblical for those who are taught and those who are led to honor/hold in high esteem/share all good things with those who teach them and those who lead them. This should certainly include pastors.
Anyway, the purpose of this post is to describe how I have recently been honored. Perhaps this will help others see that “honor” does not necessarily mean paying a salary, and that paying a salary does not remove the individual’s responsibility of honoring.
First, some background information. My family moved out of seminary housing and into a “real” house last July. We love our house! We have had an extraordinary amount of help from those within the church. They helped us move in. They helped us arrange the furniture. They helped us install appliances. They helped us hang ceiling fans. Hopefully, you get the idea.
However, there is one thing that we’ve wanted to do that we have not been able to do yet. Our house has a gas fireplace. But, it did not have the propane tank necessary to fuel the fire. Because of some unexpected medical expenses (when are medical expenses expected?) we have not been able to afford the tank and fuel yet.
So, yesterday, my wife received a phone call from the local propane distributor. Someone had called them and paid for us to have a propane tank installed and paid for the first fill-up. Wow! We were overwhelmed! I still do not know who did this for us (But, I do have some ideas).
Think about this for a moment. In order for someone to honor us in this way, they had to spend time with us. We did not make it known publicly that we wanted a propane tank but had not been able to afford it yet. So, someone spent time with us and got to know us beyond the stage of, “Hi. How are you? Fine.” Then, instead of hoping that we can one day afford the propane, they acted on what they knew about us.
Now, I have been honored in many, many, many ways. Many people have brought us food and spent time with us, especially over the last few weeks as my wife recovers from ankle surgery. Many people have given us gifts and taken us to dinner. Many people have encouraged us and listened to us. We have been honored in many ways, and I appreciate every instance of being honored. In fact, I feel that I am honored above and beyond anything that I deserve.
When I think about the possibility of receiving a salary… I think I would prefer to be honored in these small, but very personal ways instead.