In just few moments I will retire from my five years of service as a moderator in the CREC. That’s five of the ten years of our existence. Overall, it has been both a privilege and honor to serve this body. There have been some great challenges, numerous frustrations, but many more blessings along the way. I want to thank Patch Blakey and Brett Baker for their pioneering work as our first moderators and I also want to express my gratitude for Presbytery moderators Douglas Wilson and Gregg Strawbridge who have labored together as men of godly integrity and wisdom.
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
It might be tempting for us to get caught-up in our work and to think that what we are doing at the moment is all-important, or worse, that we are all-important. Right perspective is hard to maintain. I know that many of you labor long and hard in the trenches of the ministry day-in-and-day-out. Our ministerial trials and burdens often capture all our attention and energy. The CREC is a collection of churches, ministers, and elders who have gathered to give counsel, comfort, and encouragement—to share one another’s burdens—to rejoice and weep together. Yet, sometimes the tempests in our teapots can seem overwhelming, and again, we find that it’s easy to lose perspective. Our circle can often seem like the only circle. The truth is, our quarrels are mostly old ones; wrangled over many times before; and likely to wrangled over many more times in the future. Some of our struggles are unavoidable and are, indeed, important, but usually not as important as we might think.
Scripture teaches us that God humbles the proud and exalts the humble. So let us begin with the first so that we might see the last. I have told many a struggling pastor (while reminding myself): “If you never preach again, the kingdom of God will be just fine.” Brothers, God doesn’t need us; but He does often allow us to participate in what He is doing. From time-to-time we need to back-up—back way up—to see where we stand; to get so perspective. It is a humbling exercise.
It is estimated that about 100 billion people have lived on the earth in the course of human history. 6.7 billion people live in the world now. 300 million currently live in the United States.
The CREC now has about 80 churches (including Mission Churches), and about 7,500 members. We have existed for ten years.
The CREC represents:
4 .0000075% of all the people who have ever lived. (7.5 millionths of a percent)
4 .00011% of the people who are now alive on the earth. (1.1 ten thousandth of a percent)
4 .0025% of the current U.S population. (2.5 thousandths of a percent—and your church is only 1.2% of that.)
4 Since the days of Adam, about 6,000 years ago, the CREC has existed for 1/600th of that time.
Most of the 100 billion people who have lived on the earth have been forgotten, and so too, we will be forgotten within a hundred years of our death.
That’s the humbling news. We are tiny. So, how are we going to change the world if all we are is spit in the ocean? Here is where the other part of a right perspective comes in. “…we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” We are little, but we serve a big God. He has the long-view, and so must we. We might be soon forgotten on the earth, but we will never be forgotten by God. Every little thing is also a part of His big plan.
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” — 1 Corinthians 1:27-31
A lot of things happened between Genesis 12 and the resurrection of Christ. A man could grow weary and discouraged. One old man and one old woman and one son, believing God, blessed the whole world. It’s impossible for us, but it’s easy for God to feed 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes? And it’s no problem for God to take a handful of men and turn the world upside-down.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.We will adjourn these meetings soon and return to our trenches. New leaders will be elected as the old ones are relieved of their duties. As we go, let us remember that God blesses and uses little men—faithful little men—and He accomplishes great things.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
Thank you for your years of friendship, prayers, and support.