This is a season of Thanksgiving, and my heart is full of abundant joy because of you, pastor.
Most people in your congregation will never really know that depths of longing you have for each one to draw nearer still to Jesus, how you have wept in prayer over the suffering and sometimes confusion of your members, the too many times you were required to miss meals and special moments with your family because you tended to the crises and needs of your flock. Few will understand the decisions you have made to take less in order to serve more, to give sacrificially not only to set an example but because you love God and care for those suffering in the world. You have chosen a simple lifestyle to honor the King who had no place to lay his head so that the gospel may be proclaimed without hindrance.
I know that this Thanksgiving there are lonely elderly in your community who will have companionship, confused teens who will know they are loved, hungry men who will have a meal, homeless women who will not be on the street, stressed marriages that will find points of agreeable joy, refugees and immigrants who will find friends in a hostile world – BECAUSE OF YOU and how you have led.
And only God truly knows, but I am sure the number is larger than you suspect, all of the people who have crossed from death to eternal life and will join you in angel song before the throne of the King of Kings when the mortal coil is shed - because of your witness and ministry.
This world is a better place because you said yes to Jesus Christ, and to the divine call to shepherd or prophesy or teach or evangelize or break new ground in a hard community – or all of this.
I am so thankful for you.