Monday, September 2, 2013

Does Your Lifeboat have a No Tresspassing Sign?


At the dawn of humanity the good ship Eden went down in flames and we've been struggling to get people into the lifeboat ever since. We should be hauling them, wet and struggling aboard with all their injuries and weaknesses. Instead many Christians today would rather argue with the victims about whether or not they agree with us on how the boat was made or give them a political questionnaire.  Those of us in the boat already are distracted from the screams of the drowning by our own arguments about who is in charge of rations within the boat or which direction we're heading. Many of those treading water watch us and wonder if there isn't another boat they can get into. Because the bobbing raft of modern American Christianity doesn't look all that enticing from the water level.

We've lost our understanding of the point of a lifeboat.

Our mission is to haul people, in all their misery, into the vessel. It is not to say to entire groups of people that we don't have room for them and then chide them when they get into another boat with holes in it. "Look at that boat! It's full of those misfits! Surely it's going to sink, why would they get into it?"

Because we wouldn't let them, let alone help them, get into ours. At some point we'll be called to give an account of our actions. What we did. Why we did it. Did we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind?

Did we love our neighbors as ourselves? The sum of the law and prophets according to Christ

"Well, no, God but did you see all the amusing Facebook memes I posted? Did you follow me on Twitter? I was hilarious. I was really clever and put those (fill in the blank: gays, Socialists, liberals, people who believed in evolution, professors, scientists, people of other religions, gun control advocates, hippies, vegetarians, people who wanted to legalize drugs, people who wanted to tax the rich, the anti-war crowd, and everyone else who didn't think like me) in their place."

I like to imagine God thumbing casually through his Word. "I don't recall where I commanded you to do that, but hang on, I'll keep looking..."

Can you imagine squirming there and realizing perhaps you are the one who missed the boat?  

I'll bet He won't even ask how many "likes" those posts got and how many followers you had on Twitter. He's all old school about that love thing. What's more, Jesus never came across as smug or self righteous. And he actually could have rocked self righteous. Sinlessness could do that to you. But he didn't. Yet we do. All the time.

 Imagine all the things we would wish we'd done instead.

I'm pretty sure we'll be regretting not rationing out a little more love to everyone out here on the high seas. I for one, am sure I'll be wishing I'd shared more compassion and kindness to those around me at least as often as I thought I needed to share my opinion. It's something I'm working on. 

Lots of people miss the old hymns in church and I guess there's something to that. Here's one that came to mind as I was writing this post:

Rescue the Perishing
1. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

2. Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently,
He will forgive if they only believe.

3. Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Cords that are broken will vibrate once more.

4. Rescue the perishing, duty demands it
Strength for your labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them,
Tell the poor wand'rer a Savior has died.

Chorus:
Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

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