Monday, November 24, 2008

This time it's personal...

On the recommendation of someone I respect, I started looking at the Relevant magazine's web site last month. I liked what I saw there so I splurged for the 2 year subscription for $20.00. (And I got some great music in the RELEVANT Digital Sampler Vol 02 that came with the 2 year sub.)

Well, earlier this week I got my first issue. I must say, it is very visually energetic. Sometimes the ads blend right in with the articles/content. But in a good way. The whole thing is really well put together.

But what I found to be even better is the content. Two columns stand out for me: "Pursuing Personal Revival" by Randy Bohlender and "Bus Stops and Missed Opportunities" by Adam Smith.

When I read "Bus Stops" I got that sorta uncomfortable, convicted feeling. You know the one you get when you see someone doing the right thing when you know you wouldn't have done it? Yeah that feeling. In his article, Smith describes being pulled, unwillingly, into someone else's stuff at a bus stop. He knows he should be willing to minister to these folks, but he just isn't feeling it. He pretty much phones it in and says
I hope the next time I'm offered the chance to show the love of Christ, I won't be so self-centered as to only recognize it in hindsight. In my attitude, if not my actions, I failed those kids on the bus. However, I know God continues to bring me in contact day after day with people who need to see His love.

So when our pastor started talking the next morning about "us and them thinking", it was like a lining up of "God stuff" for me. Mike got a laugh out of this joke but there is a lot of seriousness in it when you realize that it is really how most of us think:
A Senior Master Chief is on the deck of a ship with several of his sailors and he started quizzing them. He asked them "If one of you guys suddenly fell overboard into the sea, what would the rest of you do?" Very quickly they answered and said "Some would go immediately to sound the alarm and the rest would get a life ring to throw to the man overboard." The Chief nodded at their answer and then asked them another question, "OK. What would you do if an officer fell overboard?" At that point the sailors paused and thought for a moment before saying "Which officer is it?"

Fortunately, God doesn't make that distinction. He doesn't have a "worthy of salvation" and "unworthy of salvation" list. It is available for everyone. We've all gone over the edge and into the ocean. Sooner or later, we're going to drown, or attract sharks, or die of exposure if we stay out there.

But God has thrown a life saver out to each of us in Jesus Christ. All we have to do is reach for it and accept the gift.

For me, I have so much gratitude for this salvation, that I want to help others reach out to grab the life saver before they slip under. And these two articles in Relevant did a great job to remind me that the need and opportunities to do that are happening all around me. To people I know, people I don't know, people like me, people not like me, people that are "acceptable" by society's standards and people that are not.

I gotta stop judging which of these folks floating with me are "worth it." I need to think more like Kevin Costner's character, Ben Randall, in The Guardian as he explains things to young Jake Fischer:
Jake Fischer: When you can't save 'em all, how do you choose who lives?
Ben Randall: It's probably different for everybody Jake. Its kind of simple for me though. I just, I take the first one I come to and then I swim as fast and as hard as I can for as long as I can.

Time to start swimming....


Bubba said...

My favorite paraphrase of Romans 11:14 is: I must become all things to all men so that by all means I might save some.

Great post. God bless.

Your AZ brother,

Bubba said...

Bubba, thanks for dropping by and commenting.

I love that passage as well. As with many things in Scripture, it is hard to keep the constant practice sometimes. Ok, a lot of times for me.

Keep 'em straight out west, brother.

SC Bubba