The Little Church In The Mountains …

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.  ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I make them My jewels.’” (Malachi 3:16-17, NKJV)

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the Lord’s people are … well … they are people!  They are not perfect … they make mistakes … but so many of them are trying with as much strength and effort as they can muster to serve and honor the Lord!

Somewhere around the 5th Century B.C. the prophet Malachi is charged with delivering a difficult message from the Lord to not only hear but to apply!  Just as the apostle John records in Revelation 2, 3, a message from Christ to the seven churches pointing out how the Lord was viewing each of them,  God through the prophet Malachi expresses His thoughts and views about the nation.

God did not want His people back then, nor does He want His people in the 21st Century to forget that He always keeps His word … and they needed to keep their word as well! But many did not back then … and sadly, many do not even now!

The Lord’s people back in Malachi’s time had become complacent, indifferent, disillusioned, and even doubtful that God would do as He had promised regarding the coming of the Messiah.

God’s people cannot afford to lose sight of the Lord’s promised hope … we must “encourage one another” to persevere in our trust for the Lord … we cannot afford to become careless!  Very simply each of us must “keep our lamps lit” as we wait for the Lord’s return!

Out of the darkness that seemed to prevail among God’s people living in Malachi’s day … God had a remnant!  And He knew each one of them … hearing their voices … their conversations … and He was pleased!

You see, the Lord had a people even with all the discouraging signs around them, who chose to revere and honor His name.  They determined to do His will, even if those around them chose otherwise!

This group of His people as they observed the spiritual darkness of their day … well … they determined to draw even closer together and to encourage each other to hang on and be faithful!  There were probably not many of them … but no matter what … they were going to be faithful in their lives to God!

The passage in Malachi shows us that as they met together:

  • They talked about the Lord!
  • They thought about the Lord!
  • They encouraged and strengthened one another in the Lord!

And the result was that God claimed them as His own … viewing them as His own “special jewels … His treasured possession … His own special treasure.”

My friends and brethren, God’s real treasures are not to be found in a bank or in some safety deposit box, or even in bricks and mortar and fine and fancy furnishings.

His real treasure is sitting right beside you or across the aisle from you … in front of you or in back of you!  The real treasure is your brother or sister in Christ!

I know of no greater privilege in this life than that of being a child of God … to have “all spiritual blessings in Christ” … to be associated with others of like-precious faith … who share the same hope … the same desire … the same objective!

There are congregations of the Lord’s people sprinkled around the world … some very small … some very large.  And when God’s people have the opportunity to be with others who are God’s people …well … it ought to be a time of refreshing … a time of encouragement … a time to join with others that we may not know personally ahead of time … but who we come to know quickly!

Recently, my wife and I had the opportunity to worship with a couple of congregations that are small in number … but big in faith and trust in the Lord!

The little congregation in the mountains of which we are writing about could be one of the hundreds established in the various mountain ranges of our beautiful country. Many are very small in number … many without some of the modern conveniences … but “strong in their faith” and service to God!

But it’s this congregation we want to highlight … located in the mountains of North Carolina.  We’ve been there before … and met the various members over the years.  Some have passed on from this life now and their place is empty in the auditorium.  Others have moved away … perhaps even a few have simply moved away from serving the Lord.

At any rate … as we worshipped with them on Sundays … the privilege of singing, praying, remembering the Lord’s death at the table … giving of their means … and studying and listening to the precious truths of God’s Word … was exceptional!

Like a palm tree in the desert … they were so refreshing to be with. From the moment we entered the building until the moment we got in our car and headed back to where we were staying!  We knew we were with family … God’s family!

These good brethren, though small in number, are investing in eternity!  They are doing from week to week just as the remnant in Malachi’s day was doing:

  • They talked about the Lord!
  • They thought about the Lord!
  • They encouraged and strengthened one another in the Lord!

I would encourage anyone who might be traveling or planning to be in and around Franklin, NC … to make arrangements to be there on any Sunday!

And when you are able … you will walk away with the same thoughts that were expressed by the Lord and preserved for our learning!

To all of those brethren who might be small in number … who find themselves discouraged from time to time … even wondering if they are doing anything that matters!  CONTINUE!  CONTINUE to honor Him … trust Him … give praises to Him … come to Bible classes and worship services and worship Him .. have fellowship with others of like mind … and talk of God’s goodness, grace, love, and mercy!

To the good brethren of the Westside Church of Christ in Franklin … we love you … we miss you … and we pray every day for you!  Thanks for being you!

 

Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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