“…appreciate those who diligently labor among you” (1 Thessalonians 5:12 NASB).
It was cold that morning when we woke up. We had driven for hours the previous day so we could see the beautiful Fall colors of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We stayed overnight at the Appalachian Advent Christian Campground at Blowing Rock. I was destined for some lessons in appreciation that weekend. My first lesson came as we enjoyed breakfast with the camp caretakers – Rob and Pam Buchanan. It was such a treat to spend time with those wonderful people. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had not had much time together with other couples in ministry.
But we had been determined to see some Autumn leaves, so we tore ourselves away, and went back to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It seemed that everyone else on the planet had the same idea that day. We shared our hike in the mountains with a lot of other sightseers. It was still magnificent.
As we returned to our car for lunch at an overlook on the Parkway, we discovered a dead battery. Our key fob did not work for the car doors, and the key only worked for the trunk. So, I could only open the doors by emptying the trunk and crawling through a small square panel into the back seat.
Then we could get into the car, but the battery was still dead. We have a AAA membership, but it would have taken hours for a service vehicle to go through the bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to us. There were thousands of people flowing through the parkway, so, even though our phones had no signal, it was not long before we found a willing stranger to pull out his jumper cables, and give us a boost. That was another appreciation lesson.
Lots of Advent Christians celebrate pastor appreciation month in October. It is very encouraging to get a postcard, or a greeting card with words of appreciation from members of one’s congregation. I have also been using this month for another kind of pastor’s appreciation. During the announcements, I have been mentioning people with prominent ministries in our congregation, sometimes praying for them.
At the worship service yesterday, the congregation presented me with a gift. It was one of those portable battery boosters that we can carry with us – just in case we need a boost again. I really appreciate these folks.