Wednesday, May 3, 2017
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When that terrorist bomb ripped apart the Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City on that infamous April 19 years ago, Mark was on the scene within ten minutes. Today that scene of horrendous carnage and violence is a tranquil Memorial Site in downtown Oklahoma City. One night when I was speaking in that city, Mark (who was a police officer) took me there for a personal tour that was pretty moving. Gesturing toward that quiet memorial area that stands where the building once stood, he showed me where the nursery had been, from which he had carried the youngest victims of the bombing. And he pointed to the area where he had assisted in the dramatic rescue of a woman who thought she was going to die but was brought out alive by some valiant rescuers. Mark remembers making a quick call to his wife that day, telling her and his daughters, "I love you. I'll see you later" not knowing how much later that would be. As he and the men around him looked at the sagging wreckage over their heads, Mark just said to his supervisor, "I think we’re going to die here." They must have all thought that. But they refused to leave because lives were at stake.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Heart of a Hero."
Standing next to a man who had risked his life on this very ground to save other lives, it hit me full force: a rescuer forgets about himself or he’ll never take the risks to go in to save a life; someone who will die if he doesn’t. And I thought about what it is that keeps most people who have been rescued by Jesus from trying to rescue other spiritually dying people. We’re so focused on ourselves that either we don’t care about those lives at stake or more likely we’re paralyzed by our fears of how they might react if we told them about our Jesus, who is heaven’s Rescuer. In either case, we do nothing because we’re all wrapped up in ourselves; the exact opposite of a rescuer, who abandons all his self-interest because someone's going to die if he doesn’t go in.
In a sense, all of us who know Christ are actually "Esthers." She’s the Jewish girl who became the queen of Persia without anyone ever discovering her real roots. Then came the day when a shrewd conspiracy caused the king to approve a decree for the slaughter of all Jews. Mordecai, the man who had raised Esther, sent her a message, urging her to go to the king and plead for the life of her people. She was afraid because the law of the land dictated that anyone who entered the king’s presence unbidden would be executed unless he extended his gold scepter to them.
In Esther 4:14-16 our word for today from the Word of God, Mordecai appeals to her with this plea: "Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther does go to the king, uttering this courageous declaration: "If I perish, I perish." That's the heart of a rescuer. It doesn’t matter what happens to me. It matters what happens to the people who will die if I don’t do something. And her people were saved.
Like Esther, you have been assigned where you are-where you work, where you live, or where you go to school. Why? To help save the lives of the people there; people who, without a relationship with the Man who died for their sins, face an eternity in hell and no hope of heaven. And you have the life-saving information about Jesus that can rescue them. It’s not about changing their religion. It's not about you winning an argument or getting them to come to your church or your religion. It’s about whether they have a chance to know the only Person who can save them-Jesus.
You’re afraid of what might happen if you went in for the rescue. I know that feeling. It might damage your relationship, and you might mess it up. Would you think like a rescuer-fearing more what will happen if you don’t attempt the rescue than what will happen if you do? You've been brought into their lives for such a time as this.
Jesus abandoned Himself completely to rescue you. There is no rescue unless the rescuer forgets about himself or herself. Someone’s eternity may depend on you doing just that. God put you where you are so they could have a chance at heaven. Don’t fail them. Don’t fail the Rescuer who died so they and so you could live.