A plate of chocolate chip cookies can mean a lot
Septmeber 28, 2004
It was my honor to pastor four churches before I came to the Missouri Baptist Convention staff in 2001. I served in a rural church; a church in the rural urban fringe of a large city; a church in what we consider pioneer area for Southern Baptists, and a church of 500 members in a mid-sized city. Each of these congregations brought it own unique challenges and opportunities.
Like most pastors, I had ideals and expectations of what pastoral ministry would bring. The reality was that it was just plain hard work. Many times it was discouraging and rewarding, sometimes in the same day. I once got so frustrated with a situation that I declared to a sympathetic pastor friend that ministry would be great if it wasn’t for the people!
One Monday morning during one of those extra frustrating times I was greeted at the office door by my secretary who told me someone had been in my office. She didn’t know who or when they came, but my office door had been left open by the mysterious visitor. Many things began to go through my mind. I wondered who my visitor could have been. As I crept in to my study I found a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on my desk with a note attached. “Just wanted you to know how much we appreciate you, Pastor. Keep up the good work. Oh, and try not to eat all of these at one sitting.”
During the sermon the day before, I had mentioned that I loved chocolate chip cookies. The person who had spent time baking these had thought of a way to express love and appreciation to me without a lot of expense and fuss, and it was just what I needed to give me the courage to continue. Over the years I have been given everything from gift certificates to trips for me and my wife, but I will never forget that simple gift of a plate of chocolate chip cookies. It was simple, inexpensive and filled with love.
October is Clergy Appreciation Month. It doesn’t take a lot to say thank you to the man who leads you to the throne of grace every Sunday. He is the one who stands with you when you’re hurting and celebrates with you when you’re happy. He’s the one who helps you through the loss of that loved one; officiates at the wedding for your child; and holds your hand when you get bad news. This is the guy who rarely sits through an evening meal without having to answer the phone at least once. The one whose family rarely gets a vacation without being interrupted or called back for a funeral.
Take time in the next few weeks to think of some ways just to tell him that you appreciate him. A note would do. Or better yet, a plate of chocolate chip cookies would be great. (Monty Hale is a Leadership Development Specialist with the Missouri Baptist Convention.)