September 21, 2022
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I got this wonderful letter from Mark, who was a teenager in one of my Campus Life Clubs a looong time ago. He was reflecting on those high school years and his summer job as a lifeguard. I'll just quote from his letter. He said, "Lots of city folk who couldn't swim came out to our beach, and we went in many, many times for them. I was paranoid that I'd lose someone on my watch and we never did." Then he went on to describe another nearby beach as a place where "suburban trained swimmers go. They did lose a child when no one else was looking."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Mission Lives Depend On."
There was a reason Mark wrote to me about his lifeguard experiences. He put it in the context of how hard it was to get the folks in his church involved in being spiritual rescuers for the lost and dying people in their own world. Pouring out his heart, my friend said, "I can't think in terms of not reaching my neighbors, my co-workers, and the people I run into for Jesus."
My friend understands something a lot of us forget all too easily - that every believer in Jesus Christ is God's lifeguard on their stretch of beach. And just like the lifeguard job, the stakes of doing it or not doing it are life-or-death.
Our word for today from the Word of God, which makes it crystal clear, in Ezekiel 33:6 God says, "If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood." God reinforces the seriousness of our assignment again in verse 8, "When I say to the wicked, 'You wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood."
If the watchman of the city knows the people of the city are in mortal danger and does nothing about it, isn't the watchman accountable for their blood? If the lifeguard knows that someone is in danger of drowning and does nothing about it, he's accountable. If you know someone who's in eternal danger because they don't really understand what Jesus did on the cross for them, you're accountable for their blood.
When Jesus sees the people in your neighborhood, where you work, where you go to school, where you exercise, the club, He sees them through a rescuer's eye, which sees dying people. And He does whatever it takes to give them a chance to live. Would you ask Jesus to help you see what He sees when He looks at the people around you? This stretch of beach is up to you. He's given you an eternal responsibility for the people there. If they go down forever, will it be like my lifeguard friend said, "because no one was looking"?
Would you pray daily for a natural way to tell those dear people about your Jesus? I suggest what I call the 3-open prayer. "Lord, open a door." That means the Lord will give you a natural opportunity to bring up the difference Jesus makes in your life. "Lord, open a door." And then, "Lord, open their heart." Get them ready to hear what you're asking me to tell them. And then, "Lord, open my mouth." Give me the words. Give me the approach. Give me the tone that I need. Give me the courage to say it.
Get closer to them so you're in a position to rescue them. You can't rescue them from a distance. Love them as Jesus would. Then tell them about His love.
The price of failure, the price of looking away, the price of your fear could be a life that Jesus died to save. Somebody has got to tell them, and God's assigned you. Don't let anyone be lost on your watch because no one was watching, or because no one went in to save them.