The 25th Annual Pastor Appreciation Banquet
After months of planning and preparation for
25th Annual Pastor
Appreciation Banquet, the big day was finally here.
Two dozen aluminum pans heaped with hot and cold food were catered
in for the event, along with three long tables piled high with delectable
desserts. Folding tables
covered with crisp, white cloths filled the local High School gymnasium,
along with silverware settings for 500 guests.
decorated the gym with a silver theme for the 25th year,
similar to a wedding anniversary celebration.
They fully expected saints and former saints (who had moved on to
other churches) and their families to show up by the dozens.
Unfortunately the planners decided to have the Banquet on a holiday
weekend in the summer, and most of the saints decided not to show up.
A reminder text message blast was sent out to everyone that morning.
“Reminder: Pastor Appreciation Banquet today! Come on out,
But what happened next is text message
responses filled with excuses poured in, even as the last of the chairs
were being set up.
“We’re away on vacation.
“We just bought a new property up north, we need to
go and see it today. Sorry about that.”
“Oh, I completely forgot
about it. Just got a new
tractor and need to test it.
I hope you understand.”
“We just got married a month ago.
We’re way too busy.
A remnant of about 50 saints did show up, along with the
planners and volunteers who already there, sweating, working.
time went by, the excuses mounted up higher than a city dump. The head
planner became angry, and made an announcement.
“Apparently most of the people we’ve invited are
too busy to bother honoring the
Pastor who has sacrificed so much for them.
We simply cannot waste all of this food.
I’m asking you now for a favor:
Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in
the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
Are you with me?”
remnant of saints and volunteers responded with a resounding, unified
The gymnasium rapidly filled up with a hundreds of hungry
souls. Many of them were
homeless, and thankful for the sustenance.
One homeless woman was a mother with a baby, wrapped in a blanket.
The mother had no diapers for the infant; and when one of the
remnant saints saw this—a young mother herself who was blessed with many
things, including diapers—she gave the homeless mother all she had.
“Thank you. Thank you so
much. You have no idea how
wonderful this is.”
One of the volunteers reported to the head
planner, “We still have about 100 seats free—there is still room.”
The head planner gathered together and asked a chosen few of the faithful
remnant saints, “We need to fill this place before the Pastor arrives.
Go out into the highways and the suburbs with the hedged-in homes
and compel them to come here for the Banquet.
They should be able to drive themselves here.”
saints went out and within a short time, the gymnasium was filled.
There was an air of excitement as the din of noisy discussions
incrementally escalated, echoing off the gym walls.
Just before the appointed time for the Pastor to arrive,
the head planner stepped up to the stage and powered on the wireless
microphone. “May I have your
attention please?” She had to
repeat herself a few times. “Welcome to
The 25th Annual Pastor
Appreciation Banquet. In
just a few minutes—at the top of the hour—the Pastor will walk through
those doors. This entire
Banquet is a surprise to him.
So when he walks in, I want you all to yell—”
One of the poor
people interrupted by yelling out, “SURPRISE!”
The gymnasium was filled with joyful laughter.
like that. We want our Pastor
to be surprised and blessed.
Thank you all for coming today.
You are a blessing to us:
we enjoy serving you.”
Just like clockwork, the Pastor and
his wife walked in the doors at the top of the hour.
The gymnasium erupted with the planned
Surprise! welcome, along with
raucous clapping, whistling and cheering.
The couple stood there in shock, holding each other, with tears
streaming down their faces.
Two volunteers went to them and hugged them and took their coats.
The Pastor went on
This event reminds me of a Bible story.”
Reference: Luke 14:1-27
--bro. tim pickl
Saturday August 11, 2012 A.D.
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