I love to spend a couple of days in Ocean City, New Jersey, right along the Atlantic Coast. Maybe it's because I grew up in the middle of the country, where I never knew what an ocean was. We like to rent bikes and ride the long boardwalk there at Ocean City very early in the morning, when hardly anybody else is around. At one end is this white building with the initials O.C.B.P., which stand for Ocean City Beach Patrol. Occasionally, you'll see the lifeguards meeting there early in the morning, discussing their day's assignments. If you're at the beach, you don't want them meeting in their little building in the afternoon. Mr. Lifeguard is up where he's supposed to be - in his high chair - and he's focused on the people in the water. That's how one of them, several years ago when I was there, spotted three children who were in trouble - perhaps about to drown. He cleared the beach, got the other lifeguards, plunged in, and saved those kids. It's a good thing they weren't having a lifeguard meeting up on the boardwalk.
In John 10:15-16 of the Bible, Jesus said, "I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also."
At Westminster Abbey in London, for over a thousand years they have buried some of the greatest people of British history. Many of the kings and queens of all those centuries are buried there as well as some literary and music greats, and one missionary. The tomb of David Livingstone is in a central spot and is one of the first you see. He was a great man who introduced the Gospel of Jesus to much of Africa. He sacrificed the comforts of England to go and give his life there, and is considered one of England's greatest men. He sensitized his country to the needs of Africa, in what was then known as the darkest Africa. On his tomb, visitors can read the facts about his life as well as verses from John 10.
Livingstone devoted his life to the sheep who weren't in the fold yet, just like Jesus did. Have you? You don't necessarily have to go to Africa or to any foreign mission field. You are surrounded at work, in school, and in your neighborhood by sheep who aren't in yet. They don't know Jesus the Shepherd who said, "I lay down my life for the sheep."
Those who know Christ are God's lifeguards. You are assigned to rescue other dying people as you were rescued. Maybe you tend to get in your lifeguard station - church - and stay there. You have lifeguard meetings, lifeguard songs, lifeguard offerings, and lifeguard equipment, but maybe you forget to go to the beach where the people who need you are.
When is the last time you left the safety of the comfortable lifeguard station and plunged into the surf to bring Jesus to someone? You can't settle, until you get to heaven, by simply saying, "Well, all my friends are Christians." You can't settle for just feeding yourself in the lifeguard station while people are drowning in the surf.
Our Lord's magnificent obsession was people who weren't in yet. Will you let Him put that passion in your heart? Get strong in the lifeguard meetings, but don't stay in the meetings. You're needed at the beach!