Victory. This we are assured of; the victory that our King, Christ Jesus will bring on that glorious day of His return. Christians all around the world have eagerly awaited the return of the King of Kings for many a millennia and while doing so, have been faithful in holding the fort as the spiritual battle continues to rage on. Our participation in this battle is the mandate that every Christian should fulfill. A call to march on, to live the way that Christ did, and to continue pushing forward to share the gift of salvation that the Lord has readily made available to each and every person in all 4 corners of the globe.
And just like every battle, there are leaders. Generals of the armies, Captains of Ships and Commanders of Squadrons, all who have heeded a higher calling and a bigger role to play. Many are called for this, yet few are chosen and even less have dropped everything they have in order to respond to the call to arms to take a position of leadership. In this battle, these individuals are Pastors; fueled by their passion and armed with the Word of God, are the ones who make sure that the Church continues to stand strong amidst the combat. Now, it begs the question, “what does it truly mean to be a pastor”? Looking at the way they are described in the Bible, at first glance it may seem that the functions of a Pastor may differ in the setting of the Church’s office, as seen in the different letters of Paul, their mandate and mission however, remains the same.
Looking at his letter in Titus 1:5-9, he describes pastors as Presbeturos in Greek or “Elders” and in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 Paul presents Pastors as Episcopos in Greek, or “Overseers” when duly translated. These terms are used interchangeably in the New Testament for the intention of giving further description and emphasizing the characteristics that each Pastor should have. Like a shepherd watches the flock, the Pastors are the ones who watches every member of the congregation and makes sure that each of their spiritual needs are met. Not only do they give feed the flock with the word of God, the also see to it that members are maturing as every member of the body of Christ must always be strong. They are called to set the example to the congregation, an important characteristic because like every good shepherd, they also give correction to those who may stray and is their responsibility as well to make them realize the consequences of actions that may not be pleasing to the Lord.
As we usher in October, we will be also be commemorating Pastors Appreciation Month. A time where we acknowledge and appreciate the lives of the extraordinary men and women who have answered the call to become pastors. These people who have given a lot by giving up a lot as well. The very special people who said no to anything else offered by the world to say yes to the calling of the Lord in watching the flock and taking care of the body of Christ. These individuals have answered the call to arms to minister to God’s people. And it is the call to arms of the congregation to continually support them be it in prayer and in every opportunity where we can express that support. Working hand-in -hand with our leaders, a simple message of encouragement, raising them up instead of tearing them down and gestures to make them feel how much we appreciate them, these are but a few things we can do to express that support to our Pastors. And let us continue to show and express this kind of support even beyond the celebration of Pastors Appreciation Month.
Looking at what is happening in the present, it may be safe to consider that we may be in the tail-end of this battle. But regardless of the battle phase, we must always continue to be vigilant in holding the fort of the Church. One way to do this is to continually look out for each other for the body of Christ to remain strong, unshaken and united until that victory is complete when the Lord returns.