Daniel Lawson, Pastor of Faith Baptist Church
October is pastor appreciation month. Over the last four weeks I have either seen or heard acts of appreciation expressed to a number of pastors. Many of my pastor-friends have received cards, books, meals, free childcare, tickets to an event, or other meaningful gestures of appreciation. I was extremely blessed, and also humbled, to receive a gift from my wife this year. Being honored by someone who is a constant source of support and love is extraordinary.
During this month of pastor appreciation I have reflected on the book of Third John. This Epistle is extremely short. The greek text is only 219 words in length. I often describe the Epistle as an inspired email. John’s correspondence to the beloved Gaius is brief. The Apostle seeks to honor Gaius, humble Diotrephes, affirm Demetrius, and express his desire to visit Gauis’ church family soon. At the very beginning of the book, John writes in verse three: “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” This “no greater joy” John speaks of is truly the greatest gift a church can grant their pastor.
So what is the ultimate joy a church can afford her pastor? I believe we see three things mentioned by John. The first is a good testimony. John has heard from other churches, missionaries, and ministry leaders a good word concerning Gaius and his church family. The testimony of John’s spiritual children greet him like a song. The word does not joggle him as a gong, nor pierce him like an awful screech. The words used to describe the congregation’s conduct are soothing.
The second gift these saints bless John with is their walking. They are not idle. They rightly understand believers are followers of Christ. Elsewhere John tells us, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” ( 1 John 2:6). John commends the saints in his third Epistle because of their conduct. They practice what is preached. They live out their faith with affection and conviction.
The unsurpassable joy John has received from these children of faith, stems from the third attribute mentioned: truth. There is a divide among commentators if this truth is a reference to Christ or truth itself. I believe an inclusion of both communicates John’s meaning faithfully. These Christians have followed the Christ and trusted in the ultimate truth. Those who receive Christ place their faith in him, walk in obedience, and build a testimony among others which honors the True and Living God. When this is seen in the life of Believers, know there is a supreme joy that is granted to the one who pastors such a people.
Faith Baptist, it is with true tears of love that I thank God for the great joy you place in my life. Allow me to encourage you to continue in clinging to Christ, walk beside him in obedience, and share His love with those around us. As you seek to honor Christ, know your pastor is blessed beyond measure…. And thank you for the cards, eggs, button-up shirts, car tires, vehicle loans, childcare, and pet sitting! Your pastor feels more than appreciation from you!
In Christ by His Grace,
Pastor Daniel Lawson