In case you don’t know, today, June 19, is the 179th anniversary of the birth of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. If you’ve read anything on this little blog you know that we think of Spurgeon pretty highly around here. I even think that maybe his birthday should be on the calendar as a recognized holiday. He was certainly used by God to do more to benefit the church, and beyond, than many whose birthdays are recognized. So have a cup of coffee in his honor and celebrate this milestone today.
This post also marks a milestone. According the Blogger folks who keep track of this for me, this is the 500th post in this little corner of the blogosphere. I didn’t get there nearly as fast as many have. My posting in general has slowed in recent months, and I’ve never been overly prodigious in my output. (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence). But here we are. Number 500. Yeah. What a party. (Kinda understated; sort of like this blog in general).
The other milestone doesn’t actually happen until Monday, although we’re planning to celebrate this weekend. On the 24th, my beautiful bride and I will have been married for 24 years. There’s something magical about that number. Our first date was on August 24th. Our wedding on June 24th. This is our 24th anniversary. And we all know that the best number in NASCAR is 24. I suggested we celebrate by going to a NASCAR race, but that was voted down pretty quick. Oh well. Instead we’re going to see a Branson show called SIX, which if you multiply by 4 is…24. Hmmm.
All this has me thinking about milestones in general. Why do we keep track of birthdays and anniversaries and even blog posts? There might be a myriad of reasons, some good, some not so much. But in all, taking time to acknowledge and look back is a good thing.
Spurgeon himself, on the celebration of his 25th anniversary at the Metropolitan Tabernacle had this to say: SOMETIMES, dear friends, we should take a review of life. There are occasions when men feel bound to do so, and the retrospect may be full of profit to themselves. I find that many look back in hours of trouble. A dark cloud brings them to a pause; In prosperity they might have run on with very little thought, but sorrow calls them to a halt. They are driven to God in prayer, and at such times it is not unusual for them, if God has been gracious to them in the past, to recollect his great goodness, and to mention it while they are pleading at the mercy seat…Thus they drive their griefs away, and the remembrance of past mercy helps them to snatch faggots from the altars of the bygone years, wherewith to kindle the sacrifice of the present moment.
Men are also accustomed to review their lives when they are brought near to the verge of the grave. It is helpful, when we fear that life is about to end, to begin to add it up, to see what the sum total reaches. If God should say to us, “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live,” the best way to do it is to remember the past, looking at what we have done, and what God has done; and then to set one against the other, that we may repent of the sin, and may hope because of the mercy.
There are, however, other occasions apart from those of great sorrow or of apprehended departure, when wise men are fully warranted in considering the period as peculiarly noteworthy. I have come to such a time today. Twenty-five years have passed over our heads since I preached my first sermon in this house…There has been a great deal done in those twenty-five years, and we have both personally and as a Church, enjoyed abounding mercy. I did not think it right to let the occasion pass over without offering devout thanksgiving to the Lord for all his lovingkindness to us, and endeavoring to say some words that shall perhaps make us feel more our indebtedness to God, and cause us to determine to be more than ever consecrated to his service.
I think he hit it on the head there. When we reach a milestone of any kind, it’s good to look back and remember the abounding mercy of God, the offer devout thanksgiving for His lovingkindness to us, to remind ourselves of our indebtedness to God, and consecrate ourselves more than ever to His service.
So, thank you, Mr. Spurgeon for the reminder; and thank you, God, for the ministry of that servant of Yours. What a blessing he’s been to so many. Thank you Lord, even for this little blog, for the outlet it’s provided me and the catharsis I’ve enjoyed.
Most of all, I thank You for the gift of a godly wife. What a demonstration of Your grace, and undeserved mercy. I pray that I will mark every anniversary of our marriage with gratitude and thanksgiving, knowing that it’s all of grace. And may we celebrate all of our “milestones” in life with reminder of our indebtedness to You, and a renewed commitment to Christ, to doing all for His glory. Amen.