One of my favorite illustrations about the church’s mission comes from the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth. I’ve shared it with you before in a sermon but it bears repeating. In his sermon entitled, “Who Cares?” William Booth tells of a dream he had. It was more of a nightmare really – a nightmare of a stormy sea and a violent sky.
He said, “As I looked upon this and saw the tossing waves and the raging wind to my horror I perceived in the violence of the storm and darkness of the sky, human beings shrieking, plunging down, crying out, pleading for help and for rescue.
And as he saw these thousands of people crying out for help in the storm, suddenly emerging from the middle of their pain came a great white rock and around it was this broad ledge. He saw people emerging out of the sea and finding safety on the rock. Then, as he looked further he saw those same people reaching down and pulling loved ones out and contriving by rope ladders and by any means possible to bring other people out of the raging sea. He even witnessed those people who had been saved jumping back into the sea in order to bring others to safety.
But then as the dream went on William Booth witnessed something that really puzzled him. He said that he saw the number of people on the rock grow and grow so that now there was a substantial group of people safe from the storm and the raging sea. “And what puzzled me most”, said Booth, “was that as soon as there was a substantial number of people safe from the storm – and even though all had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean – nearly everyone seemed to have forgotten about those who remained in the sea and they no longer seemed to care.
It is good to hear such stories because sometimes those of us who are safe on the Rock of Jesus Christ forget that all those who are not on the Rock are in the sea drowning.
As we continue our focus on missions this month pray that God would keep us from the sin of forgetting those who are still “drowning in the sea” without him.
With thanksgiving for you,