In today’s reading, Paul lists a litany of hardships that he endured: hard work, imprisonment, floggings, and exposure to death. He was also shipwrecked and marooned at sea. He experienced severe hunger, thirst, and deprivation from sleep. Paul concludes his listing of sufferings by saying, “Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Cor 11:28)
As I thought about Paul’s words, it was interesting that his concern for the churches seemed to the greatest burden that he carried. Paul’s words reminded me that the responsibility of church leadership can be a tremendous burden.
There are many ways that we can ease this burden our leaders bear but there are two very simple things we could do today that would be very effective. First – Pray for them. Take a few moments, perhaps even now, to thank God for the blessing they are. If there are specific challenges you know they are facing – pray they would find strength and grace as they persevere. If you don’t know how to pray for them or what to pray – talk to God and His Spirit will guide you.
The most common communication that church leaders receive is often criticism or complaint – this promotes discouragement and a heavy heart. Proverbs 12:25 tells us “… an encouraging word cheers a person up.” The second thing we can do today is to tell our leaders “Thank You.” You can say it, e-mail it, text message it, snail mail it, IM it, or perhaps you could say it with a hug, a handshake, or a kiss. Whatever form your “Thank You” takes – you can be assured that it will be welcomed.
Rather than a one time event, we should make praying for our church leaders and telling them “Thank You” a habit. Consider it sowing a blessing into the live of another.