You deserve an award.
I mean something like an Oscar or a Golden Globe. An award with you in the spotlight. An award delivered at a ceremony with a red carpet and flashing cameras. One of those parties bespectacled by long gowns and finely tailored suits. A show televised, which interrupts the regularly scheduled programming.
A celebration with the finest musicians and actors supporting the evening’s festivities. The soundtrack for the occasion scored by the most sought-after composer in the industry. Oh, and the food, crafted by 5-star Michelin chefs preparing delicious dining for the pre-party and the post-party. (Of course, you go to both.)
Then comes the acceptance speech. What do you say? You know you don’t deserve this. You’ve been told your church is a failure and your ministry makes little eternal difference. (You remember the “talk” the mega-church pastor gave at the last conference; which was the last one you’ll ever attend.) You work two, sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet. Your poor wife also works part-time and juggles children and minister-wife responsibilities. Do you really have anything to say?
You approach the lectern and suddenly the unction from heaven falls. You know it. It’s that familiar friend the Lord blessed you with this past Wednesday night. It’s the thing you pray for every day and which the Lord freely gives. Confident now, in the Lord your Trust, you say,
“I don’t accept this award for myself but for all the small church and bivocational church pastors who couldn’t be here tonight. The men who are too tired from working with their hands and hearts today. They couldn’t make it. Those men whose years of dedication have gone unnoticed, unpublished, uninvited, and undervalued. Those men who are smarter, more passionate, more persecuted, more dedicated than I am. They are tougher, rougher, and made of a metal more refined and lasting than me.
“I accept this for those who work long hours yet rejoice to prepare a message received from the very mouth of God. A message whispered in their ear. A sermon composed on their knees. These are the men who don’t depend on method or means. These are the ones who don’t fall for the latest fad or marketing scheme. They are not moved by the denominational need for conformity of language, dress or program.
“I accept this award for all the small church and bivocational church pastors who are steady as a rock. The ones who keep the word of God before their flock; who won’t flinch when conflict comes and who don’t mind insulting the hedonism of their people. On behalf of them all, Thank you.”
You deserve an award.