Appreciation Outside the Gate
by Linda Veath Cox
The peacefulness of worship settled over me as I considered Pastor C’s words. God’s words. Just what I needed to hear that Sunday. As my pastor led our worship service, God met my need through the hymns, Scripture, and sermon. Especially the sermon.
Pastor C was speaking on Hebrews 13:9-15 and Jesus suffering outside the city gate. How He willingly went outside to find people who needed God to come to them. People like me.
He reminded us that our life with Jesus is one that is lived “outside the gate” of our family and friends—and whatever they think. And if putting Jesus first in our life creates distance between us and them, then better that than creating distance between us and Life in Him. Life in His eternal, enduring city.
Experiencing that distance between us and our family and friends is not easy. But Pastor C faithfully reminded us that our life in Jesus is worth it. The last paragraph of his sermon infused me (and no doubt the congregation) with the peace and joy I needed to face current difficulties in my life:
[your] life and what’s outside [your] life? Finally it doesn’t matter.
“Live a life that has Jesus in it (after all, He lived a life that was connected to us), and you [are] holding on to daily forgiveness and love.
“Live a life with Jesus in it, and you [are] living a life of daily thanks and confidence.
“Live a life with Jesus in it, and you have what it takes to live a life of forgiveness and love and grace toward others.
“We were outside of God’s circle until Jesus lived a life with our name written on it. Live your life as a life with Jesus’ name written on it, and you have a life that lasts forever.”
How thankful I am that I have a pastor like Pastor C. I pray that other Christians have pastors who are faithful shepherds of the flock, preaching the truth of God’s Word, proclaiming Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in all that they do.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. While we should show our pastors appreciation every month of the year, may we do something special for them this month to thank them for following Jesus outside the gate to care for us. And may we pray for them as Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him:
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 (NIV)
Thank you, Lord, for our pastors who speak the Word of God—the Word about Jesus Christ—to us.
Linda Veath Cox is a regular contributor to DivineDetour. She recently retired after twenty-five years as a district office secretary for the State of Illinois. Her first loves are studying the Bible and reading, but she occasionally tries her hand at writing. Her work is published in All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa (Thomas Nelson), The One-Year Life Verse Devotional (Tyndale), Life Lessons from Grandparents (Write Integrity), Love Is a Verb (a devotional from Bethany House), and Chicken Soup for the Soul’s I Can’t Believe My Dog Did That. She lives in a small town in the Midwest with the “Bone Mafia,” her two indoor/outdoor mutts.