Dear Church Family,
Today, October 24th, marks the 134th anniversary of the covenanting of our church back in 1884. Sadly, comparatively speaking we know very little about those first members that assembled together. However, we do know there weren’t many of them and they met in a shared log cabin. But most importantly, we know they had a passion to see a Gospel witness established in Poteau and spreading beyond to the glory of God. They might not have looked like much in the world’s eyes, but in God’s eyes, they were precious. And now, all these years later, here we are. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness in bringing us to this point!
It’s true that we don’t know the life stories of these brothers and sisters who have gone on before us—even though we are blessed with so many members who have gathered here for decades. However, without any shadow of a doubt, we know that they lived. How do we know that? We know that they lived then because our church is still here today.
This principle has something to teach us about the Christian life. Do you believe God has numbered our days before we’re born? I think I am safe in assuming all of us would answer, “Yes.” David sings in Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” So, if we each have a set allotment of days, that means nothing we can do will change that. Jesus points out that we aren’t able to add even a single hour to our lifespans in Luke 12:25-26.
Now, does that mean we should needlessly risk our lives today? Again, I think we all would say, “No.” But, why not? Well, while God has numbered our days before we’re born, He hasn’t told that number to us. He knows when we are going to die—we don’t.
Here’s the thing, we don’t need to know when we’re going to die, but we do need to know that we are going to die. That’s why Moses prays for the Lord to “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” in Psalm 90:12. God knows when we’re going to die and we know that we are going to die. When we become consumed with when we’re going to die, it paralyzes us. But when we become mindful that we are going to die, it motivates us. That’s why Moses ends that psalm asking the Lord to “establish the work of our hands!”
Remember this principle: the way we reach our day is by staying alive today. This is true physically, but this is also true spiritually. We believe once saved always saved just like we believe our days are predetermined by the Lord. However, just like we know instinctively that we make it to our nineties by not dying in our forties, we make it to the Celestial City by walking the narrow way that takes us there. Our eternal security in Christ is meant to encourage us to live for Christ now and never as an excuse for not doing so.
On the church level, it’s really not our business to speculate on when “our day” is. Declining attendance and giving are tools used by a kind God to remind us of our mortality. This is a good thing if we will respond by being motivated to live, work, love, and serve for His glory for as long as He gives us. We don’t need to worry about our day, we need to worship Him with our today. The same Lord who has sustained our local church for these 134 years through many ups and downs is able to bring us through to another day. The question is, will we live for Him today?
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).