In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It always seems a little dicey for a pastor to write about what the Small Catechism Table of Duties calls “What Hearers Owe Their Pastors.” It’s dicey because so much sin colors the discussion. Pastors feel that they are underappreciated and would welcome a few more digits added to their paychecks. They also know the Word of God directed to preachers, that they should not be lovers of money (1 Timothy 3:3). Hearers of the Word also struggle with their responsibilities as they look at the church budget and income statement and wonder if the good reverend couldn’t get by with a little less. Life in the church is messy that way with sinner pastor and sinner hearer battling it out for the fiscal upper hand.
So, what is the answer? We heard part one last week when God’s Word detailed the responsibility that the pastor has toward those who gather to hear the preaching. Pastors are brought to repentance by those words and receive Absolution for their sin by the Word of Jesus. Part two of the answer is detailed in today’s catechism reading. Faith receives the preaching of God’s Word and the preacher, with thanksgiving. A physical act of thanksgiving is providing for the worldly needs of the preacher. The pastor is worthy of “double honor” not because of who he is, but because of his work. He labors in preaching and teaching. He works to bring the Word of God to you in the best and worst times of your life.
You in turn give thanks to God for this gift by supporting the bearer of the Word. “The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). Rejoice in the gift that God has given through your pastor and rejoice in the opportunity to show Christ’s love to him. In doing so you free him from the worries and cares of this life to continue his loving service to you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Gracious God, You send great blessings New each morning all our days. For Your mercies never ending, For Your love we offer praise. Lord, we pray that we, Your people Who Your gifts unnumbered claim, Through the sharing of Your blessings May bring glory to Your name. (“Gracious God, You Send Great Blessing” LSB 782, st.1)
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch