Some of the toughest things for me to swallow during the pandemic were some of the edicts coming down from our rulers in Washington. I’m sure they were trying to use their best judgement with the information they had been given, but when decisions about who and what were considered “essential” and “non-essential” were revealed, it was really hard for me to keep silent.
When churches are deemed “non-essential” by leaders, that tells you everything you need to know about the people in charge. If there is one thing that the people of America really need right now, especially during the turmoil our country is experiencing, it’s a church family. Church is essential, and so are the people who serve the Lord’s church.
During and following the height of COVID-19, there have been a rash of resignations by men serving in the ministry. I understand why. Ministry is stressful on the best of days, but when you add to the load of ministry people in your congregation lying in hospital beds and not being allowed to minister, church members shut up in their homes and you can’t go see them, funerals no one can attend and facing empty pews Sunday after Sunday that you are forced to preach to, the role of pastor can quickly go from being stressful to being depressing. Then, your government tells you that you are not an essential worker.
God’s Word begs to differ.
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine” (I Tim. 5:17).
Pastor, thank you for your ministry! You are to be doubly honored for the work you do every day. You care for the souls of people! You help people during the most difficult times of their lives! One minute can find you rejoicing with a couple over the birth of a child, and the next consoling a grief-stricken mate over the loss of a spouse. You listen to dark secrets and the heartbreak of burdens you will never share with anyone other than your Father. You offer hope from Scripture to people every Sunday, some of whom have treated you and your family cruelly and in an un-Christlike way. You have a tough job! But it is an essential job! People are transformed when they hear the truth of God’s Word through you! They escape Hell and have a home in Heaven! They find the hope of Christ through you! Oh, yes, you are very essential, Pastor. You are more than essential, you are called out and ordained by God Himself.
Let the truth be told — pastors are essential! Thank you, sir! We all need to hear from you, Pastor! Thank you for accepting God’s call and being faithful to The Master! Job well done, Sir!