Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the life saving station

this is one of my favorite stories on what church is...and...isn't

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a little life-saving station. The building was primitive, and there was just one boat, but the members of the life-saving station were committed and kept a constant watch over the sea. When a ship went down, they unselfishly went out day or night to save the lost. Because so many lives were saved by that station, it became famous. Consequently, many people wanted to be associated with the station to give their time, talent, and money to support its important work. New boats were bought, new crews were recruited, a formal training session was offered. As the membership in the life-saving station grew, some of the members became unhappy that the building was so primitive and that the equipment was so outdated. They wanted a better place to welcome the survivors pulled from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged and newly decorated building.
Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They met regularly and when they did, it was apparent how they loved one another. They greeted each other, hugged each other, and shared with one another the events that had been going on in their lives. But fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions; so they hired lifeboat crews to do this for them. About this time, a large ship was wrecked off of the coast, and the hired crews brought into the life-saving station boatloads of cold, wet, dirty, sick, and half-drowned people. Some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin. Some could speak English well, and some could hardly speak it at all. Some were first-class cabin passengers of the ship, and some were the deck hands. The beautiful meeting place became a place of chaos. The plush carpets got dirty. Some of the exquisite furniture got scratched. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the house where the victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting there was rift in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities, for they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal fellowship of the members. Other members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all those various kinds of people who would be shipwrecked, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. And do you know what? That is what they did.
As the years passed, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a place to meet regularly for fellowship, for committee meetings, and for special training sessions about their mission, but few went out to the drowning people. The drowning people were no longer welcomed in that new life-saving station. So another life-saving station was founded further down the coast. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of adequate meeting places with ample parking and plush carpeting. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.


Anonymous said...

Amongst the boatloads I see young mothers,who should have known better, trailed by children with snotty noses and goodwill clothes...not even understanding how they got in the boat in the first place....just seeking for something better....having the courage or desperation to hope.......Lord help us to be that lifeline.

Josh Derr said...

Thanks for sharing the story Dave. I really enjoyed it and you do a great job of fueling my hunger for the lost. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous doesn't sound very Christian, talking about snotty nosed children and goodwill clothes. Did he miss the point of the whole story? Are we going to judge people or lead them to Christ? Lord help anonymous to see people as you see them!

Anonymous said...

Exactly my point ...I've been the mother with the "snotty nose children and goodwill clothes"....we all have things we have judged or been judged by.....I have found "Christians' to often be the most judgmental.....myself included....It doesn't matter what you wear or your occupation...we all need a Savior. What I wanted to convey was on the boat, as in Ashland, there is a great need for compassion and assistance with these young moms who feel helpless ......I was thrown a lifeline.....I want Five Stones to be part of that...I do appreciate your sensitivity. Thank you !


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