Today was Pastor Appreciation Sunday.
There was applause.
There were generous gifts.
My Pastor-Man was deeply touched.
His voice may or may not have cracked a bit.
He's a funny one that Pastor-Man of mine.
He's genuinely surprised that anyone shows up each Sunday to hear anything that proceeds from the likes of him.
Applause makes him squirm. A lot.
He has not a clue about why he might be appreciated by the church he serves.
Not a clue.
Which makes me wonder a bit about some things...
I wonder, for example, if our church family realizes that the very same guy in the dark suit and the bright tie behind the pulpit on Sunday mornings is the very same guy that gets up early every weekday morning to feed our three-year-old her o'dark thirty breakfast because she's "verwy hungee" so that her mamma can get a few more minutes of sleep?
Do they know, I wonder, as the neighbors must, that he worships with as much vigor and volume on Tuesday mornings with the children as he does on Sunday mornings with the congregation?
Would it be believed that this man, so dapper on Sundays, is the same guy that goes to muddy football practices in heavy rain during the week so that he can hold the tender, mud-caked cleats of his son's teammates so that they can stretch properly?
I'm sure that no one would ever guess that my straight-laced Pastor-Man is a supremely gifted marathon shopper who spends hours helping the women in his life search for "just the right..." purse, shoe, dress, belt, nail polish....
Never in a kabillion years would any of our church family know that their pastor sampled spinach the other evening just because he knew it would thrill the heart of the cook.
Then there was that Easter Sunday a few years ago when, instead of getting ready to preach what many in his profession deem the most important sermon of the church year, my Pastor-Man was in the hosiery aisle of the local Kroger, purchasing a pair of size A pantyhose in Suntan for his daughter who had just destroyed the only pair she owned.
Does anyone know that for years, he has made it his job to get the youngest of us dressed every Sunday, ruffled bloomers and all, until last Sunday when she insisted on dressing herself and broke his heart?
I'm sure that our church family doesn't know about all of these things, and really, these things are not why they appreciate him, nor should they be.
They are, however, some of the reasons why I appreciate him.
I'd imagine that among those of his "flock," his family may well be the most difficult sheep to shepherd. The sheep at the Wright Place are always watching this shepherd of ours, for he is doubly ours. He's our family's leader AND our pastor. We see our pastor at his best, at his worst, at his tiredest, at his most joyful. We see him up front and we see that others are paying attention to what he says and that means something, whether we'd like to admit it or not.
We also see him when there isn't a crowd of folks who know he's "the Pastor" looking on. We see him when the salesclerk gives too much change, when the neighbor is rude, and when the milk gets spilled. We know what books he's reading, what he watches on TV and the websites he visits. We don't miss much, that's our job.
What I'd like to say, then, to my Pastor-Man, is thanks for doing your job. The one for which you were applauded today, and the one for which you weren't.