On October 31, 1942, Winston Churchill gave a speech that may have turned the tide of history. I’m sure to many at the time this speech seemed small and insignificant. For one, it was a short speech. The entire thing can be read in less than five minutes. Most of the speech is rather routine and not particularly noteworthy. But it wasn’t just the content of the speech that would’ve made it seem insignificant. It was also the audience: it was delivered to a group of coal-mine operators and miners.
In those days, coal miners were low on the social ladder and were not well respected. Because of their brutal working conditions, many believed military service would be a welcome relief. But Winston Churchill understood that the work in the coal mines was not insignificant. He knew that without the miners faithfully harvesting coal, the battle could not be won. So, he concluded his speech to those lowly men with these words:
“We must not cast away our great deliverance; we must carry our work to its final conclusion. We shall not fail, and then some day, when children ask ‘What did you do to win this inheritance for us, and to make our name so respected among men?’ one will say: “I was a fighter pilot”; another will say: “I was in the Submarine Service”; another: “I marched with the Eighth Army”; a fourth will say: “None of you could have lived without the convoys and the Merchant seamen”; and you, in your turn, will say, with equal pride and with equal right: “We cut the coal.”[i]
To many, Poquoson Baptist Church may seem like an insignificant people in an insignificant place. We don’t have a lot of the sparkle that other, seemingly more important churches seem to have. We don’t have massive crowds. We don’t have multiple campuses or services. We don’t have the newest technology or the flashiest facilities. We don’t have world class preachers, teachers, or musicians.
But here’s what we do have: we have a promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s church. Even if we seem small and insignificant in the eyes of the world, we matter in the eyes of our King. And in His unshakeable providence He has placed us right here, right now. And He’s given us an unstoppable message and an unshakeable mission. So let’s not grow weary in well doing, church.
[i] Sir Winston S. Churchill, The End of the Beginning (New York: RosettaBooks, 1943).