For many years I regarded the English countryside as the nicest in the world and implicitly thought that of southern Ontario sub-standard. It was about ten years ago I realized that there is a real beauty in this part of the province, more than matching many of the beauty spots of England, where I was born. I have spent a lot of time driving the roads and highways and back-roads of this province. This trekking has given me a rich appreciation of what a beautiful land we live in. But equally I have developed a love for the churches of this province, especially those that I know best, Baptist and baptistic causes tucked away in small communities, villages and hamlets and small towns.
After twenty-five years of teaching/preaching in such communities there are not a ton I have not been to. I thank God for the rich experience of visiting many of these churches--in places like Port Elgin and Tiverton, Sarnia and London, Port Perry and Lindsay, Boston and Hespeler, Delhi and Dutton, Woodstock and Exeter, Otterville and Chatham, Guelph and Wyoming, Arthur and Collingwood, Orangeville and Alton, Tilbury and Kanata, Georgetown and Huntsville, Ancaster and Binbrook, Flamborough Centre and Grand Valley, Wiarton and Hepworth, Meaford and North Bay, Bracebridge and Orillia. And with such visits comes a desire to see these causes flourish.
What this travelling has given me is a global view of the needs of this province and its glorious Christian riches. The needs are great, really great. Imposible for us weak, fallible sinners to meet. Only God can meet such needs. But glory to his name, he uses sinners, weak and flawed, to do his work.
Where then are the men and women who will stand up and seek the kingdom of the Lord Jesus in this province? This is no time to immerse ourselves simply in our own corners. While acting locally we must think globally. Parochialism cannot rule if we are truly praying the Lord's Prayer, "Thy kingdom come."
Fitting especially servants of the Word for the task of evangelism in this province there is needed a global vision that refuses to be bound to parochial thinking, but sees beyond its own four walls and genuinely seeks the coming of the Kingdom in this land. How on earth can we ever engage in the great task of evangelizing the far corners of this earth, taking the gospel to lands of Muslim idolatry and secular European quarters, if we do not have strong churches at home? Churches especially in the larger urban centres, like Toronto, need to see themselves as resource centres for smaller works in the rest of the province.
Soldiers of Christ in truth arrayed, rise up and have done with lesser things and labour for the Master in this province. We must be assured that if we do not do it, God's kingdom will come but He will use others to bring it in and pass us by. He is no man's debtor, and simply because we are the heirs of a great past, does not mean he is obliged to use us. There are churches in this province with rich heritages but today they are living in those pasts, stuck in the ruts of their traditionalism. Look to Christ and break free from such bondages! Be again his free people--the glory of what it means to be Baptist (oh the vast diference between tradition and traditionalism). Be assured that if we do not, God can and will raise up others and other causes and they shall know his presence and have the joy of seeing sinners saved and the saints edified.
Addendum: study the age of Carey and Fuller, and see what God can do with fully-yielded saints!