The Great Woman
It’s finally October! Bonfires, candles, fall decor, the bugs die, sweaters...ugh, it’s the best. It’s also Pastor Appreciation Month, so without any further ado, let’s talk about it.
I remember hearing the story in Sunday School as a little girl: the panicked mother who was counting on Elisha to raise her son from the dead, and my favorite teacher’s dramatic reenactment of how the prophet laid himself across the young boy, lining up his hands and mouth with the cold, small ones until the lifeless body began to breathe again. The Bible refers to this particular mother as "a great woman." Why do you think that is?
The first time we meet this woman, it is while the prophet and his servant are on their many journeys in and around her city, Shunem. Each time they would pass her home, she compelled them to stop and eat--which, the weary prophet readily agreed to do. The woman recognized that God’s hand was on Elisha, so she begged her husband to build a small room in their wall for the prophet to retire into when he needed the rest. Of course, Elisha wanted to give her something in return for her hospitality, but when his servant inquired of her, she didn’t ask for an audience with the king, or money, or a hotline to the captain of hosts. Elisha’s servant reported, “She has no child and her husband is old.” So Elisha called her in and told her that according to the time of life, she would be embracing a son. Sure enough, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Later, we get to the part of the story we mentioned at the beginning, where her miracle son died on her knees and she sought the prophet’s prayers once again.
Building a Room
I’m contending today that as Apostolic women, we need to make room for the man of God in our lives, in our homes, and, like the Great Woman, in our problems. You see, this month is Pastor Appreciation Month. Churches all over will give gifts and recognition to their pastors, and I’m all for it; it’s important to give honor where it is due. However, what a grave disservice we would be doing ourselves as individuals and as the body of Christ if we relegated respect for the men of God to a particular Sunday in October.
The Great Woman did not build a room for the prophet to make him like her or to get something in return. She made room because she recognized the weight of responsibility he carried as the Lord’s anointed, and she wanted to give what she could. Inviting Elisha into their home was not relegated to days when their hospitality would be seen and praised by everyone in their village. No, they were willing to let this powerful man of God into their daily lives and even into their problems as they struggled with their desire to have a child.
Pastors are not meant to be impersonal, perfect robots that sit transcendent above their congregation. They are the shepherds that will answer for their responsibility to watch for our souls. Don’t just give your pastor a generic card and flowers in October and then ignore him for the rest of the year. Cover him in prayer, and make room for him.
What does making room for the man of God look like today? It means that you allow him to speak into the parts of your life that no one else sees, even when it’s uncomfortable or not what you want to hear. I’m sure the prophet’s methods were not comfortable or logical to the Great Woman, but she recognized the hand of God that was in it. It means that you cover them in prayer, so they know that they will always have your support as they bear one of the heaviest burdens you and I will never understand. Making room in our homes means that when you sit around the dinner table with your children, you always speak of your leadership in a way that fosters respect, a fear of God, and submission to godly authority. (That could be an entire blog post in itself!) This is how we give the man of God the liberty to speak into our lives as the Holy Ghost gives him direction, and it is for our good. Poke your neighbor in the eye and say, “It’s for my good.” This is how you make room. And yes, of course, with hospitality. As often as you can, in whatever way you can, make it a point to show your appreciation for your leaders. Bake cookies, send a heartfelt card, offer to babysit while he and his wife enjoy a date night, or pick a day each week to fast and pray for your man of God. This is how we give honor to whom it is due, and how we bless those that keep watch over our souls.