The batter stood and walked to the plate. He grasped the bat tightly in his hands and waited for the pitch. The moment came, he swung, and hit the ball right out of the park once again. Another run and another game won for the home team!
Yet it was the same response all his years in his small hometown. The crowd from beginning to end was mostly silent. People got up for drinks of water, shuffled between seats, and there was even conversation. Few cheers, slaps on the back, high-fives, or simple “thanks” were given, just stares of disinterest, yawns of boredom, and eyes of distance as the batter approached the plate. Many season ticket holders didn’t even show up.
Did the crowd in the stands appreciate his effort and the lonely hours of preparation and practice? Did they acknowledge him throwing his all into his work? Were they aware of his discouragement, his stress, and personal pain? The many questions of fault and failure that ran the bases of his mind. Did they even care?
A fan said to the media, “He gets paid. What more does he want?” Another said to his face, “We don’t want you to get a big head.”
If you were that batter, game after game, how would you feel? What would you do? Yet every Sunday, this is what many pastors see, hear, and feel from the pulpit. We thank the postman, the drycleaner and the waitress who serves our meal; when was the last time you thanked your pastor?
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine (1 Timothy 5:17).