“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17
Looking back over my past, I am so thankful for the different pastors that God brought into my life that took Hebrews 13:17 to heart. They understood that they had a God-given responsibility to “watch for my soul,” and they took the charge very seriously. Every one of them was different in personality yet they all had two very important traits – they loved me and they wanted me to know and love the Lord.
One of those pastors, my youth pastor, had an incredible impact on me for which I am eternally grateful. He invested in me more than was required of him (He took me on his family vacation – that is just crazy!). He lived out the messages he preached. He loved the Lord, he loved people, he was as genuine as they come. He modeled to me what it meant to love and to serve. I can look back and see God using this man’s faithfulness to work in my life and play a huge role in my having a desire to serve the Lord with my life. I specifically remember it was on a mission’s trip to Canada with him where I surrendered my life to the Lord to be whatever He wanted me to be. Fast forward some twenty years and that pastor is still faithfully, lovingly, pastoring people.
Who has God used in your life to encourage you along the way as you follow Him? Are you willing to let someone help and encourage you in your walk with the Lord? God did not design us to navigate this crazy life on our own.
I encourage you to reach out. There is a pastor who would love to encourage you along the way as you follow Christ. Find a pastor that loves the Lord, is faithful to the Word of God, is willing to love and serve people, and lives out the messages he preaches. Understand he is not perfect and will make mistakes. Let him help you as you follow the Lord. You will be an incredible encouragement to him, as he will be to you.
As I write this, I have been reflecting over the last 15 years of ministry that the Lord has given to me – stories of people that I have tried to encourage to follow the Lord but they sadly rejected Him and went their own way, as well as people who were willing to let me encourage them to follow the Lord and are still faithfully following Him today. It brings great joy to look back at those who faithfully follow and a terrible sadness to remember those who rejected. Come alongside a pastor, let them encourage you, and as you faithfully follow the Lord you will also be an incredible encouragement to him.