Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Life-Saving Station

On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut and had only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out every day and night, tirelessly searching for shipwreck victims. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little life-saving station, and so it became famous.

Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give their time, money, and effort for the support of its work. New life boats were bought and new life-saving crews were trained. The little life—saving station grew. Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt a little more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those who were saved from drowning. So they replaced the emergency cots and the emergency beds and put in better furniture. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as a sort of social club.

Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions so they hired lifeboat crews to do the work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club met.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was considerably messed up, so the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of the 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 life-saving activity because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted on life-saving operations as the primary purpose and pointed out they were still called a life-saving station. But they were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of shipwreck victims in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast, which they did.

And as the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that occurred in the old and it evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit the coast today you find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, and most of the people drown.
- John MacArthur

Do you see the point of the parable? The church’s greatest enemy isn’t the government, the culture, the A.C.L.U, Hollywood producers, or the liberal media. Scripture states and history confirms that churches are strengthened under persecution and adversity. If our churches are to be destroyed, or rendered ineffective and stagnant, it will happen at the hands of its own people as they lose sight of their foundation, their purpose, their reason for existing. To put a popular twist on Oliver Perry’s famous words, “We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us!”