Dear Church Family,
During these times of “uncertainty and fear” the Eldership thought it might be a good idea to edify one another with a few words of encouragement. As I was preparing this message, I was reminded of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech, which was delivered on April 23, 1910. While that was 110 years ago, the message still has some relevance today. Here’s an excerpt from that speech:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
There’s some grit in this speech, and if there is one thing this world needs, it’s a little more grit. We need it in our families, we need it in our country, and we need it in our congregation. God put us here for a reason. He wants us to be His “man in the arena.” He even left us an entire book filled with examples of His men and women who spent their lives in the arena showing great devotion by spending themselves in the most worthy of causes. Take Daniel for example, he spent a little time in the arena, didn’t he? What did he do when he was told that he couldn’t pray? In Daniel 6:10 “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did afore-time.” Daniel was a man of great devotion and he was not afraid to have his face marred by dust, sweat or blood serving God in an arena that was literally filled with lions.
What about Queen Esther? She had showed great courage by telling the Persian king about a plan to assassinate him, and later a plan to have all the Jews in Persia killed. With the power of prayer and bravery, she saved her people.
God had a plan for Daniel and Esther, but not unlike us Daniel and Esther didn’t know all the details of that plan. They faced uncertainty and risked ultimate failure, but with God’s help they both knew the triumph of high achievement.
High achievement is not a given in “the arena.” David knew the pain of failure. He erred, he fell again and again, but he repented, got up, and walked back into God’s arena.
In conclusion, the eldership wants to encourage you to be that “man in the arena” that is always looking for an opportunity to do something great for the Lord, and while you’re out there remember that the Lord’s definition of a great thing is often different than ours.
[Mat 10:42 KJV] 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Once again the Eldership wants to let you all know that you’re in our prayers and we’re looking forward to the day when we can meet again as a congregation! (Hopefully sooner rather than later.)
Thankfully we still haven’t heard of anyone in our congregation that has contracted the virus and we’re optimistic that the steps we are taking as a church have been helpful and will ultimately allow us to meet again as a congregation sooner. With that said we’ve decided that the building will remain closed until mid to late May at the earliest. We’re considering a phased approach to beginning our public assemblies when we are able to meet.
We’re continuing to monitor the situation and if that plan changes we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
Everyone should be encouraged to know that the Church is continuing to meet as individual families every first day of the week to pray, sing songs of praise to the Lord, partake of the Lord’s Supper, study God’s word and joyfully give of our means as faithful members of the Lord’s body always have. It’s encouraging to hear of the joyful worship being offered to the Lord from our church family and I’m proud to share with you the fact that while we haven’t been able to meet together as a congregation our contribution has not suffered. We’re also pleased to tell you that Matt will continue to bring us Sunday morning and Wednesday evening lessons delivered via our YouTube page.
In Christian Love,