Hebrews 13:7-17 (NRSV)
Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the
outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange
teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by
regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have
an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For
the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the
high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus
also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own
blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For
here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that
is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to
share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will
give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing — for that would
be harmful to you.
Today, during evening devotions, my family prayed for every church open in the Name of Jesus and for every pastor and staff member who is serving during this CHRISTmas season.
For those of you who are not members of church staffs, you may not fully appreciate all that goes into the CHRISTmas church schedule. There are worships to plan, sermons to write, sanctuaries to decorate, children's programs to rehearse, poinsettias to order, sick and shut in to visit, people to greet and care for, etc.
CHRISTmas is wonderful and exciting for those of us who arrive on Sunday morning, but we rarely remember to thank the pastors and staff who make such beautiful worship services possible.
In today's scripture the author of Hebrews reminds us, "Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith."
I want to remind us to "remember your leaders..."
Seasons like Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter tend to be difficult for those of us who work in churches. We get weary and worn. We get frazzled and stressed out. We can even burn out if we are not attentive to spiritual disciple and self-care.
Today, I want to humbly ask you to pray for your pastor(s) and church staff. I want you to consider writing a thank you card, laying a gentle hand on their shoulder, looking them in the eyes, and offering them a word of thanks. I want you to try to think of a way to serve the one who serves you on a continual basis. And I want you to bless the man or woman of God who is used by God to offer care for your soul.
I'm sure that by now you are well aware that there is nothing intrinsically special, holy, or perfect about pastors or church staff people. We are human beings, we sin and fall short, we need Jesus as much as anyone else. But, what is true, is that your pastor(s) and church staff have made the commitment to give their wholes lives in public service to God, the congregation, and the world for the sake of Jesus!
Let us lift them up in prayer and love them well at all times, and especially during the Holy Days Season.
Lord God, today I pray for my pastor(s) and church staff. I know that during this season they may be growing weary. Please uphold them with your strength and please use me to be a blessing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.