Sunday, 5 August 2007

The Lifeboat Station


On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little lifeboat station. The building was no more than a hut, and there was only one boat; but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out day and night, tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to be associated with the station and give their time, money, and effort to support the work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifeboat station grew.
Some of these new members of the lifeboat station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those who were saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifeboat station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a memorial lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them were foreigners. The beautiful new club was in chaos. Immediately, the property committee hired someone to rig up a shower house outside the club, where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because they felt they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. A small number of members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The small group’s members were voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives, they could begin their own lifeboat station down the coast.
They did.
As the years went by, however, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old station. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore.
Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the passengers drown.

As disciples of Jesus, our primary task is to go and make disciples. (See Matthew 28:19.) To put it another way, we are to go and save lives. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget our purpose. We need to recover our passion for lifesaving. We need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. (See James 1:22).

9 comments:

John Frye said...

Andrew,

This is one of my favorite stories.

Thanks for stopping by JESUS THE RADICAL PASTOR. I thought I'd return the favor and visit your website. You have some excellent and varied posts. I am a fan of A. W. Tozer as well. In my earliest years as a believer in Christ Tozer's books were very formative.

God bless you there in E Belfast!

Andrew Kenny said...

I appreciate your comments John. I'll put your website on my favourite links.

Anonymous said...

liked the story Andrew.
john

Anonymous said...

THis story does have relevance in the history of the modern church. Were the Pharisees much better? And are we any better than them?

Herma Newtics

Anonymous said...

How true this story is.
William

Anonymous said...

I like it.

Anonymous said...

'Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell.
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell'.
C.T. Studd

S. Starr said...

The preacher at my church used this same basic story in a sermon not long ago. Instead the story revolved around a station on a dangerous, winding mountain road. The station was there to help escort travellers through a particularly dangerous section or else lend them assistance with other troubles that had developed along their way.

Of course everyone loved the story. Then of course little was done to take the story to heart and action.

I like the previous comment about running a rescue shop within a yard of Hell. I am still looking for a way to do just that in my own life.

Anonymous said...

Such a pity that this is so true of the modern church - too busy focussing on making the building the centre of our wants rather than meeting the needs of its parish through outreach and mission - we are told to seek first the kingdom of God, not to consider others once the curtains match.