We shed tears watching emotional movies. We’re sorrowful when we see a dog stranded on the streets. But do we have a heart heavily burdened with empathy for the lost?
September 25, 2020
Before Katrina, I was walking toward my lunch table in a New Orleans seafood restaurant. The ocean breeze was refreshing, the smell of good food was everywhere, and the sky was beautifully painted with colored clouds. But something else arrested my full attention and stopped me in my tracks. Behind a glass wall were thousands of poor little crawfish trapped on a conveyor belt, struggling in vain to regain their footing on the slippery surface and make their escape. The ones that reached the end of the belt dropped helplessly into a pot of boiling water, to be cooked and eaten by large, ravenous creatures (my lunch mates), waiting to crack open their bodies and eat their flesh. My sole consolation was to know that death would come quickly to these little creatures and end their unimaginable pain. I couldn’t help but feel sick. I wanted to run into the kitchen, break open the bags of imprisoned shellfish and yell, “Run! Run for your lives!” I really did want to save all of them. But I didn’t. I listened to the voice of reason and just stood there in horror, watching those poor little animals head toward their doom.
I was stopped from being a shellfish rescue hero primarily because of my own pride. I thought, “It would be ridiculous to try and save them. People would think I’ve gone insane. Besides, nobody else is trying to save them. I can’t just run in there and release thousands of crustaceans. I’d be arrested. It would hit the morning papers: Man Releases Crawfish—the Ultimate Shellfish Act. Instead, I sat down at my table, ignored the tiny cries emanating from the kitchen, and pretended to enjoy the view over the Louisiana bay.
As Christians, we know what is waiting for each and every unsaved person. “For it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that, the Judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). All of humanity is on the conveyor belt of time. Every moment moves them closer to the edge of eternity. We see men and women struggle in vain to find their footing in this world through self-help, worldly religion, and good works. Their efforts to save themselves are futile and many professing Christians stand motionless behind the glass wall of indifference and watch.
Do you ever feel a pain in your heart to rescue them from this impending fate? The Bible says they are “held captive by him [the devil] to do his will” and that Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” and set the captives free. Could you ever envision yourself as a Christian rescue hero, intentionally entering someone’s life to show them the way of escape and how to live forever? Do you regularly share the gospel with sinners, throwing caution to the wind for their sakes and for Jesus’ sake, or do you listen to the voice of “reason,” who says, “It would be ridiculous for you to try to save people now. Who do you think you are? You’ve got no training. You’ve been a Christian for many years and never shown any real concern; people would think you’ve gone insane. Your friends and family will think you’ve lost your mind! Besides, nobody else seems to be trying to save them. Why should you try and be a hero?”
You have two choices. You can stay seated in the pews week after week, ignoring the cries of humanity coming from the office, your community and home, and try to enjoy the view of Heaven on Sundays. Or, you could begin to throw caution to the wind, stop caring what other people think of you, let love swallow your fears, and run to a lost and dying world with the message that can save them. Join the Apostle Jude and “save [them] with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:23). How do you do that? Do what Jesus did. Learn how to use the Moral Law to bring the knowledge of sin and make grace amazing to a sinner. Click here to learn how.
Go on. Be a hero.