Wednesday, February 24, 2016
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Jenny was a counselor with a student group we had taken to a youth organization conference at the New Jersey Shore. She was walking along the Boardwalk enjoying all the attractions, when suddenly she heard what she thought was a scream. It seemed to be coming from the ocean. But it was night and it was, of course, too dark to see out there. So Jenny ran down the steps, across the beach, and to the water's edge.
This time it was clear that the screams were coming from somewhere out there in the water. Jenny paused for a moment, because she said, "There are few things more frightening than going into the ocean in pitch darkness." That's true. But Jenny's hesitation was only for a moment. She forgot about her own safety, she threw off her shoes, and she plunged in to save what turned out to be a drowning girl. Moments later, others jumped in to help too. Later, Jenny said, "I had to do it. Someone was dying out there!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Rescue Without Risk."
A life was saved that night because of the courageous, selfless choice of a young woman who was in a position to make a difference; the position to make a difference. She was scared, she knew it was risky, but she was the one who was there. She was the one who could do something and she did. Someone's dying condition became more important to her than her own comfort and safety.
But that's how it always is when there's a rescue. A drowning person; a person trapped in a burning building or the unstable rubble of an earthquake. There's no such thing as rescuing someone while staying in your comfortable spot. There's no rescue without risk. This includes the most critical rescue of all: the rescue of someone who is dying spiritually because they do not know Jesus – the only One who can rescue a person from the death penalty of their sin.
Jesus knows there's no rescue without risk. Boy, does He know it! He said in Mark 10:45 that He came "to give His life as a ransom for many." Later He said to His followers, "As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). Jesus was sent to lay down His life so others could live. And now He's sending you and me, He said, on the same rescue mission He died for, to do whatever it takes to try and bring some people you know to heaven with you. Jesus left His comfortable spot, the most comfortable spot in the universe to rescue you and me. He's asking you now to leave your comfort zone to rescue someone you care about.
Your mission is graphically portrayed in our word for today from the Word of God in Proverbs 24:11, "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Telling people about your Savior is life-or-death business! Like Jenny on the beach that dark and dangerous night, you won't take the risks unless you realize that if you don't do it, that person may very well die without hope.
God's Word says that the people you know are without Christ "will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Not because Jesus wants that. He died so they don't have to, but because they haven't reached for the rescuer; maybe because they don't know what He did for them. They need to hear about Him from you!
It's time for you to do what you need to do to build a relationship with that lost person you know. Spend some time with them. Write a letter about Jesus to them. Pray for some natural opportunities to share life's most important relationship. Win the right to be heard and take them to the cross where God loved them enough to pour out His love by dying for them.
Don't wait for a professional lifeguard to come along. Like that woman on the beach, you're the one that's in the position to be someone's rescuer. You're there! If you know it's life-or-death, and it is, you'll know what you have to do. You can't just stand on the beach and let them die.