Don’t forget to thank spiritual leaders

October is Clergy Appreciation Month, and I join with many others in honoring our spiritual leaders.

First, let me say there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude for the many, many selfless acts you do for others. You are vital to my spiritual being.

I realize you are on call around the clock. Bible studies, preparation of sermons, funerals and hospital visits take priority. That leaves little time for your own activities because you sacrifice your own time in order to minister to others.

I want you to know your presence brings comfort and relief. You stand beside people when heaviness of heart prevails. You spend many hours, maybe even an entire night, in prayer with those going through a crisis. You miss many nights of sleep, holiday dinners and family events to be with someone in need.

You live in a “fishbowl,” and it’s hard to survive without encouragement and affirmation.

Behind you is an unselfish wife who shares your concern, hurts and cares. She shares you anytime, day or night, as she strives to help you succeed by having a supportive home, and I appreciate her, too.

You have been put to the scrutiny of the media. I resent the not-so-subtle innuendoes that movies, sitcoms and other representations place upon the clergy.

You have been called to build a church amidst a great deal of apathy. I admire your courage in speaking the truth without compromising or rationalizing, in spite of moral decay.

With billions of people in the world, you are desperately needed. May all of us treat you generously in every way. May we stand by you and value you because you are God’s anointed. “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm” (Psalm 105:15 NIV).

The importance of you and your staff cannot be overstated. You are the key to the church’s future, whether it is growth, discipleship, evangelism or social concerns.

I think we have a responsibility before God to hold you up as Aaron and Hur did for Moses: “But Moses’ hands were heavy, and they took a stone, and put it under him and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exodus 17:12 KJV).

I honor you for proclaiming God’s truth, the only answer to life’s problems. You, the clergy, are vital to our town and to our nation. I shudder to think how our lives would be without you. Thank you for your comfort and counsel.

May we be your “Barnabas, Aaron and Hur.” We hold up your hands as we “fight the fight of faith.” Thank you again, for your patience, sacrifice, unselfishness and most of all for your dedication and love for our Lord.

May God hold you close as you minister to a hurting world.

I bless you: “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25, NLT).