We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-7 NIV
I recently had the privilege to preach at my brother-in-love’s church. I knew a couple of people, but this was my first time preaching for this congregation who is without a pastor at the moment. I asked my brother-in-love who would be introducing me and he mentioned a young man.
He came and asked my name to make sure I was the preacher for the day. Then he went to the microphone to start the service. “Good morning, today our guest preacher is Greg Rogers. I have known him for a minute and half, It’s been fantastic. Let’s worship the Lord today..” That was my total introduction.
I knew that there was not an ounce of harm directed toward me by this young man or the church, but I had accepted a wound. I had taken up on offense. I had arrived early so that I could possibly meet with the person who would be introducing me. That didn’t happen. I also realize that I was also at fault for not giving a short bio that could be used in an introduction. My jaded heart revealed that God and I had to do some business.
Was I wanting praise? Did I want people to know my accomplishments? Or was I more concerned that Christ be magnified? The wound was totally on my side and in my heart. I asked God to forgive me for taking up an offense. I asked God to bless the church. I recognized that they were without their pastor, their shepherd. They have been faithful in leading many people to salvation. I thanked the Lord for their faithfulness to the gospel message. God forgive me. He did and my heart became light again.
Some ideas to help your Pastor so he doesn’t have to seek his own praise.
- Give him face to face verbal honor when honor is due.
- Add the “why” to the “that was a good message”. For example, “Your story challenged me to start forgiving others.”
- Don’t gossip and point out his failings to others. True honor exists even when the person is not present. (your pastor is not perfect, neither are you. But no one wins when faults are being exposed)
- Send hand written notes or emails of specific ways that your are praying for him. I.e. “Thanks for being a good dad to your kids, we are praying for you to have wisdom and love to raise them the way God desires.”
- Exaggeration is not honor. It falls more to the lying side of a conversation.
- Direct all praise back to Jesus. For all things are from Him, in Him, and belong to Him. If your pastor is a good preacher, praise be to Jesus. If your pastor is a good teacher, praise be to Jesus. If your pastor has helped many people, praise be to Jesus.
I had the privilege to speak at the same church the following week. My heart was right and my spirit free. Here was my introduction, “Our guest preacher today is Greg Rogers, I’ve known him for seven days. It’s been good. Let’s worship the Lord.” I had the most wonderful time in God’s presence that day.
Blessings Love y’all