Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

The Greater Risk

by David Lemming
I don’t think anybody will dispute the fact that this year, 2020, has been one of the strangest years in most of our memories. What started as a New Year full of promise and expectation quickly turned into a year filled with fear, anxiety, and death. Whether you are talking about the Covid-19 virus, the lockdowns, the murder hornets, the earthquakes, the hurricanes, the wildfires, the riots, the sports and entertainment closures, confusion over school plans, a political race, and dozens of other things, this has already been a year filled with significant challenges and we still have four months to go!

As difficult as it has been in the US, can you imagine how difficult it has been for many of our cross-cultural missionaries to take the Gospel to the countries of the world? Recently, I interviewed one of these special “Ambassadors” working in West Africa. I asked him how the people in his region of the world were faring with the virus. He acknowledged that the infected count and the numbers that have died from the virus were considerably lower than in most countries. But, he indicated that the people in his part of the world are very fearful about the virus, partly because they hear about the fear that is widespread in the western world. According to him, they feel that if we have such anxiety in the west about COVID-19, people who to them seem to have everything medically available to treat the sick, then the virus must be much worse than they are presently being told or are experiencing.

Stop and consider for a moment that the chance of most getting the COVID-19 virus is relatively low and the possibility of dying from it is even smaller. A lot of that is due to the hard work that has been done in the last few months to slow the spread of the virus, as well as people following the guidelines to stay safe. I’m not suggesting that this virus isn’t dangerous and easily transmitted. All I’m saying is that we are in a better place today than we were a few months ago when virtually nothing was known about the outcomes we might face. Thank God for these successes and we pray they will continue.

However, while the percentages of those getting and dying from the novel virus is declining, the fact is that the mortality rate of the world’s population is still registering at one hundred percent. In other words, most of us will never feel the full effects of this terrible illness ravaging the world, but nobody will escape the clutches of death, ultimately!

This is at the heart of the reason we can never slow down our work through missions locally or internationally, even when we are battling a worldwide pandemic. People are going into eternity either due to this virus or due to a myriad of other things that ravage our bodies over the course of our lifetimes. Death doesn’t wait on anyone and no one escapes the grasp of its boney fingers.

The need for worldwide missions efforts is as great, if not greater than it has ever been. My prayer is that some from our congregation will ask God if He would have them to invest the rest of their lives in this eternal cause. However, I truly believe, if He doesn’t call us to go, then we have to be willing to help those He has called.

Today, there are men and women spread all over the world that are reaching the lost for Christ and are able to stay there because of our partnership with them. We have to be faithful to this task, no matter what we are facing back home at any particular time in our lives. Many are going into eternity today and their only hope to hear the Gospel is for people like you and me to work together with missionaries on the field through giving. Can you imagine facing death due to the coronavirus (or anything else, for that matter) and not having peace about what comes next?

Let’s not be so busy trying to save our own physical lives from a virus that most likely we won’t even contract if we take the right precautions and forget that millions of people are in a condition that is far more perilous. They not only have the temporal Covid-19 virus to confront, they have the eternal consequences of their own sins to face after death. And it is 100% certain that they will die from something, whether it’s the novel virus or not.

I’m asking those of you that have been giving to missions through our church to be consistent with your gifts as we move forward into 2021. Thank you to so many that are faithful to give even though you have been going through difficult times this year. We have not had to reduce or drop any of our missionary partnerships due to the pandemic. For that, I give God all the glory for continuing to supply His work of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Can I ask others of you that may give periodically or have never given anything to missions through our church to join our team as we continue our partnerships with nearly ninety missionaries and missionary projects? Because of the giving of our people we are able to provide financially for some local missionary efforts, as well as all of our international missionaries to the far reaches of the world. It is some of the most rewarding giving that any of us do because through it we are helping to bring people into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Please pray over your missions offerings for this next year and ask God to do something special through you beyond your tithes for the ongoing work of our local church ministries. Someday we will meet people in Heaven that were reached by a missionary we supported who in turn, took the Gospel to them. What an exciting day that will be for us and for them!
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