Friday, October 27, 2006

More Than Appreciated

Everyone longs to feel appreciated, don’t they? Wives want to know that their husbands appreciate them. Moms want to know that their children appreciate them. Workers want to know that their employers appreciate them. And yes, so do pastors. Ever since I came to Grace Church back on August 1, 2004, this church has made my family feel welcomed and have made me feel appreciated.

During the month of October you as a church outdid yourselves in expressing appreciation. The most encouraging part was that this was not something organized and facilitated by anyone in leadership. This was just individuals, families and groups of people who took it upon themselves to express appreciation. Someone remembered my sermon from James called, “Just Do It” where I used the example of Nike and made mention of the fact that I had never owned a pair of Nikes because I grew up in a home where our tennis shoes were always Kmart “blue light specials.” As a result the month of October begin with the best pair of tennis shoes I have ever owned being put outside my office…and my size to boot. There a cool blue color and, may I add, I look good in them!!

The month ended with a group of people from one of our ABF classes who spent a full Saturday morning accomplishing a lengthy and needed “to do list” that they had asked my wife to put together. This included washing all of our windows, cleaning out all of our gutters, doing some painting in the basement, weeding, cutting wood, tilling, minor repairs and much, much more. How cool that a group of people would give up one of their last beautiful Saturday mornings before winter to spend it doing my “honey do list” as a way of saying, “we appreciate you!”

In between the shoes and the work crew there were also many wonderful notes, cards and e-mails along with a lightouse ornament, BBQ pork, lunch put on by the office staff for all of our pastors, and even a gift card to one of the restaurants I visit regularly. These notes were precious. Did you know that I keep every note of encouragement and thanks that I get? I have notebooks (several of them) where I keep all of these notes so that whenever I get discouraged or just am feeling a little low, I can pull one of these notebooks out and let these cards and notes encourage me all over again.

Whether it is the thoughtfulness and time that goes into organizing a “meatloaf of the month” club; or the person who anonymously made our trip to Israel possible; or the generous Christmas bonus you give each year; to the very encouraging words, calls, notes, cards and e-mails that I receive all throughout the year, you as a church have made me as your pastor feel more than appreciated.

Some pastors spend years in a church and never receive such appreciation. Some pastors never realize how appreciated they were until they announce that they are leaving and suddenly they get lavished with such words and acts of love. Such is not the case with Grace Church. From day 1 you have made me feel appreciated. And now 2 years and 3 months into our partnership together, you still make me feel more than appreciated.

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