Friday, July 21, 2017
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Jessica's all grown up now. She almost didn't make it past eighteen months. You might even remember when, as a curious toddler, little Jessica fell down a deep shaft in her aunt's backyard in Midland, Texas. The shaft was far too narrow for any rescuer to go down, and she was wedged in a position that virtually immobilized her. If you remember that incident, it's because we all watched the drama unfold on television for three nerve-wracking days. By the time it was over, Jessica was like America's little girl! When the rescuers realized there was no easy way, no conventional way to save little Jessica, they devised a whole new way of getting it done: by digging a wider shaft parallel to the one she was trapped in, and then a tunnel connecting those two shafts. That's pretty ingenious! Finally, a rescuer was lowered into that second shaft. Minutes later, we smiled and we cheered as the rescuer emerged from that shaft with an armful of Jessica, holding onto him for dear life.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Whatever It Takes".
That seemed to be the attitude of Jessica's rescuers, wouldn't you say? That has to be the mindset of anyone who hopes to rescue someone who's going to die if they don't. You've got to do whatever it takes. Like the rescue God commands in Proverbs 24:11, "Rescue those being led away to death." Or in Jude 24, "Snatch others from the fire and save them." In other words, you got rescued from the fire, now don't just leave the people you know in the fire. God put you where you work, where you live, where you recreate, where you go to school to take some of those people to heaven with you! How are you doing?
But it probably is not going to happen if you insist on it being easy or safe, or on rescuing someone you care about by conventional means. Let's look at the guys portrayed in Mark 2, beginning with verse 2, our word for today from the Word of God. These guys are some of my heroes. I love this story.
They have a paralyzed friend, they know Jesus is his only hope, and they are his only hope of getting to Jesus. He'll never get to Him on his own. That could well be you and some folks you know. The house Jesus is teaching in is so crowded they can't possibly carry their friend in through the door or even through a window. Those would be the conventional ways, right, of getting into a house - a door, or at least a window. So they give up, right? "I guess my friend will never get to Jesus. It's too hard. That's so sad." Wrong! No!
Here's what the Bible says: "Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on." Minutes later, Jesus had forgiven their friend's sins and enabled him to walk for the first time in his life.
The point? The lost and dying people you know will probably never go through the front door to Jesus. They may never come to a meeting you invite them to. They may never go to hear a speaker you want them to hear. But guess what? You're already with them. It's up to you to tell them about the Jesus who has changed your life and changed your eternal destination.
And all of us, from individual believers to churches to ministries, will have to realize if we keep on doing what we've always done, we'll keep on reaching who we've always reached. And dying people all around us will just go on dying! Like Jessica's rescuers, we've all got to be willing to try new methods, to get out of our comfort zone to rescue the dying, to go beyond what's easy, what would be convenient for us, to explain Jesus without all those religious words that only we understand. We've got to go to the places where the dying people really are instead of waiting for them to walk into the rescue station.
Whatever it takes, that's what it's got to be when the situation is life-or-death. Would you say it to Jesus today, "Jesus, I'll help some of the people I know be in heaven with me; whatever it takes, whatever it costs! Because that's what you did."