October 28, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Rescue the Perishing

Brother-Aaron-236x300I heard a story the other day about a father and his young son who were in an art gallery.

They were looking at a painting of man in a boat who had reached down and taken hold of the hand of a man in the water.

The young boy looked at his dad and asked, “Dad, is he trying to save him from drowning, or is he just shaking his hand?” Now, I don’t know if this story is true.

However, I believe it paints a very graphic picture of the state Christianity today. All too often, those who desperately need us to rescue them – are only receiving a handshake from us.

The words of an old hymn written in 1870 by a blind woman, Fannie J. Crosby, come to mind:

1:  Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
weep over the erring one, lift up the fallen,
tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Refrain: Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

2:  Though they are slighting him, still he is waiting,
waiting the penitent child to receive;
plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
he will forgive if they only believe. Refrain

3:  Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
chords that were broken will vibrate once more. Refrain

4:  Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
back to the narrow way patiently win them;
tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died. Refrain

Listen again to the verbiage of the first verse:  “Rescue the perishing”  “Care for the dying”  “Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave”  “Weep over the erring one”  “Lift up the fallen”  “Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.”

Oh, my!  Would to God we still did this today.  What a different world this would be!

I am afraid that Christianity and the church of today has strayed a long way from what it was in Fannie J. Crosby’s time. I’m afraid she wouldn’t even recognize many of our “churches” as churches.

The message has been compromised; the Sunday morning show has been maximized; an expectation of commitment by the members has been minimized, and sadly, the influence upon society by Bible believing Christians and churches has been marginalized.

No, we’re not too good at rescuing the perishing anymore. However, on the brighter side, we’ve become really, really good at shaking hands with them!

It’s time we got back to our mandate to rescue the perishing. Duty demands it!

Brother Aaron

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