Since we live in an area where there is a lot of outdoor recreation including, hunting, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, water sports, rock climbing and ice climbing—to name a few—there is often a need for rescue work. Added to that, of course, are the house fires and vehicle accidents that require rescue teams. We have an excellent volunteer fire department, ambulance crew and a David Thompson Search and Rescue that are often called upon.
As Doug Hutchraft wrote in Ron Hutchcraft Ministries magazine called RESCUE, “ we hear the word ‘rescue’ all the time in our world—rescue from a flood…rescue from a fire…rescue from a natural disaster. ‘Rescue’ means somebody is in trouble, and they need help. Lives are at stake!”
In President Ronald Reagan’s final days on the earth he was struggling with the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease. As people came to visit Mr. Reagan, conversations about the past became more and more frustrating. First, memories of his movie star days left him, then his days as governor of California and finally he could no longer remember even his days serving as President. Amazingly, though, one memory remained, one that was triggered by a picture on his wall of a river where Ronald Reagan made his most enduring memories. When visitors asked about the picture, he would brighten and say, “Oh, that’s the Rock River in Illinois where I was a lifeguard. That’s where I saved 77 lives!” Long after memories of his amazing achievements from Hollywood to the White House were gone, one memory remained—the lives he rescued.
That’s how it will be for all of us who are Jesus’ followers. When every other achievement of life has faded away, one will remain—the lives we rescued. Solomon wrote in his “Book of Wisdom” known as Proverbs: “Deliver (rescue) those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh, hold them back” (Pr. 24:11. As Jude 23 says, we are to “save others, snatching (rescuing) them out of the fire.” Paul, in writing to his understudy Timothy, said, “And the Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness, correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (II Tim. 2:24-26).
Many lives have been spared (physically) by trained rescue workers who respond to an emergency, be it someone who has capsized in a river, fallen down a cliff, become lost in the mountains, been caught in an avalanche, trapped in a burning house, or any number of other life-threatening situations. As believers, we are to equip ourselves with God’s Word to enable us to rescue those who are in danger of entering an eternity separated from God. That’s the most important work we have to do as “ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20). How can we possibly sit idly by when many around us are in grave danger. It is a “life-and-death” matter. It’s amazing that so often when someone is in a life-threatening situation, many people will not stop to help. They don’t want to get involved, feel inadequate, or just plain don’t care! There’s a story that Jesus told that illustrates this said commentary. We know of it as the parable of “The Good Samaritan” recorded for us in Luke 10:29-37. A man traveling between Jerusalem and Jericho was robbed, beaten and left along the trail. Later both a priest and a Levite happened by but just “passed by on the other side” not bothering to stop and help the injured man. Then a Samaritan happened by, had compassion on him, bandaged up his wounds, brought him to an inn and paid the innkeeper to care for him. What would you have done? All around us are people in trouble (not just physically, but spiritually) who need to be rescued. They need our help. Lives are at stake.
The Bible is really the greatest “rescue story” ever written. From Genesis to Revelation, we read of God’s “rescue” plan to deliver us from the ravages of sin and the condemnation of the Law. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard for us. Because of sin we are separated from God and headed for eternal judgment, but God, in His compassion, mercy and grace put into action a rescue plan involving God the Son, who came to earth as a man to provide a means of escape through dying in our place and paying the penalty for our sins so that we could, by believing on Him, be spared eternal judgment and have eternal life. Jesus said, “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (Jn. 3:16; 5:24).
Each of us is either in need of being rescued, or we are rescuers. Which are you? If you still need rescuing, just admit you are in need of rescuing and put your trust in The Rescuer, Jesus Christ and what He did for you at the Cross. If you have been rescued, pray that God will open your eyes to the needs of those around you, then open your mouth to share with them the “Good News” that Jesus came to rescue them.