“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1)
I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the so-called Pastor Appreciation Day (elsewhere called Clergy Appreciation Day) and I have this to say on the subject. It relates happiness with joy and I believe is appropriate when we consider those who the Father gave us to be our ministers and little shepherds. It is good that congregations show appreciation for their pastor.
I have always maintained that it is easy to make your pastor happy. Do not criticize him unnecessarily, do not make him do things he is not called to do, do not treat him like one of the hired help. Come to church regularly, attend the prayer meetings and other activities religiously, raise his salary (he will love that!).
What is a lot harder (and what will really make your Pastor Appreciation Day shine) is to complete his joy by growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The passage above (Paul writes something uncannily similar in his epistle to the Philippians) shows the relation between what a person professes with how that person walks–having fellowship with the Father, walking in the light, confession of sin and hatred thereof, etc.–a connection that, while known, is sadly missing in many people’s lives.
As a pastor, I would be very happy to be treated to a dinner or to have my birthday remembered. But happiness is fickle, and if the church is hardheaded and shows unwillingness to grow in Christ, all the birthday parties in the world will never compensate for the feeling of failure the pastor will surely get.