Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Rescue The Perishing

MATTHEW 9:36-38 – When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”


THEME OF THE DAY:  RESCUE THE PERISHING.  Ponder the theme of today’s nugget for a moment.  After that moment has passed, allow the imagery of this true story grip our hearts. In the gripping, we should find ourselves humbled, leading to confession of neglect and a new resolve to do exactly what the story models and the theme of today’s nugget directs.  Now the story . . .


When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Harper successfully led his daughter to a lifeboat. Being a widower he may have been allowed to join her but instead forsook his own rescue, choosing to provide the masses with one more chance to know Christ. Harper ran person to person, passionately telling others about Christ. As the water began to submerge the “unsinkable” ship, Harper was heard shouting, “women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats.” Rebuffed by a certain man at the offer of salvation Harper gave him his own life vest, saying, “you need this more than I do.” Up until the last moment on the ship Harper pleaded with people to give their lives to Jesus. The ship disappeared beneath the deep frigid waters leaving hundreds floundering in its wake with no realistic chance for rescue. Harper struggled through hyperthermia to swim to as many people as he could, still sharing the gospel. Harper evidentially would lose his battle with hypothermia but not before giving many people one last glorious gospel witness. Four years after the tragedy, at a Titanic survivors’ meeting in Ontario, Canada, one survivor recounted his interaction with Harper in the middle of the icy waters of the Atlantic. He testified he was clinging to ship debris when Harper swam up to him, twice challenging him with a biblical invitation to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” He rejected the offer once. Yet given the second chance and with miles of water beneath his feet, the man gave his life to Christ. Then as Harper succumbed to his watery grave, this new believer was rescued by a returning lifeboat. As he concluded his remarks at the Ontario meeting of survivors he simply stated, “I am the last convert of John Harper.”


What if we were on the ill-fated Titanic that night?  Would we have joined Rev. John Harper in the water, giving his last hours on earth pleading with people to come to the Lord?  Or would we have joined his daughter in the safety of a lifeboat thinking more about ourselves than others?  The answer is revealed by the level of our love for the Lord and people.  Love acts.  Love feels the plight of others.  Love cannot sit still.  Love “dives into the water” of perishing souls pleading for their salvation.

Rescue the perishing.  That is the chief reason we remain in this world.


PRAYER: “Father, burden my heart for the unsaved that moves me into action with Your Gospel.”


QUOTE: “Someone loved us enough to share the Gospel.  Do we love people enough to do the same?”


Because of Him,


Pastor Jim