Honoring Those Who Teach The Word of God
There is a season of the year which is set aside to appreciate those who have the Christ apportioned gift of pastor. (Ephesians 4:11-16) Pastoral Appreciation often is celebrated through a world view. Like: Taking a pastor and his family out to dinner, sending a card to the pastor with names of the congregation on it or having a time of recognition during the service on a Sunday morning. Other things have been done to show honor to the Lord’s servant over the years. Yet, we still see a transition of pastors from pulpit to pulpit before seeing their work coming to a healthy completion. The church is called to discipleship, when a pastor moves on from one pulpit to the next without someone being Biblically mentored into the position of pastoring or shepherding (Greek: ποιμήν poimḗn) the people of God, then God’s best for the congregation was not fully enjoyed.
The Holy Spirit has given a gift for instructing the people of God so they may know His will for them and how to live in a manor worthy of the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 2:12) The people of God are told, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies (προφητεία prophēteía).” The person with the gift of New Testament prophecy proclaims the word of the Lord for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. (“Martin, D. M. (1995). 1, 2 Thessalonians (Vol. 33, p. 184). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 says, “…the one who prophesies speaks to the people for their up-building, encouragement and consolation…. The one who prophesies build’s up the church.” Many have been edified, consoled and aroused to service for the Lord through someone exercising their gift to proclaim the written Word of God. In this context we are honoring those who exercise this Holy Spirit gift for the forth-telling of God’s will and message. (Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1975). The letters to the Corinthians (p. 128). Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster John Knox Press.)
True Biblical honoring of the person who has the call to publicly read the Scriptures is to enable that person to devote themselves to that task. (1Timothy 4:13) The Apostle Paul told Timothy, …devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have.” (1 Timothy 4:13) The world view and influence of honoring pastors every October has not fixed the tragic results of preachers leaving the ministry of preaching the Word. Of those who would give me an answer to my question, “What is your greatest frustration?” Number one answer was, family and the congregation they serve not protecting their time to fulfill the ultimate call of “Preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
In 1994 at the North American Conference of Evangelist, the Billy Graham team put together a great number of Proclaimers of God’s Word to Preach the Word to encourage a new generation of preachers. They were taught the message to proclaim, the character of the messenger, and the new methods to use. Logos Bible software and Sermon Central are host websites with Biblical teachings which build up and equip others to preach the Word of God around the world.
This October, how do you honor the Lord’s gift to the church (Ephesians 4:12) those who are given the charge to preach (2 Timothy 4:2) the Word of God?