PERSPECTIVE: Do we measure up?
Disaster seems to be a regular occurrence these days. Oklahoma has contended with six declarations of disaster this year, the most of any state in the union. Recent floods that devastated many parts of our state demanded the best from all of us. Our rescue workers in law enforcement and fire departments gave their best to see that no one was left behind.
I watched with millions across America as the Oklahoma Highway Patrol sought to rescue the senior adult couple from Kingfisher whose truck was swept off the highway by the torrent. The helicopter hovered dangerously close to the fast-rising water as the Kingfisher fire chief rode on the skid and sought to hold on to Bernice Krittenbrink. When she fell into the rushing water, they returned to rescue her. They did the same for Leroy Krittenbrink, who twice dropped back into the flood before being flown to safety.
I don’t know about you, but I was struck by the unrelenting commitment of the helicopter pilot and co-pilot and the fire chief involved in the rescue. OHP Lt. Brian Sturgill, the pilot, stated in a television interview, “We just could not leave them behind. We had to rescue them.” These men are true heroes worthy of high regard.
Fire Chief Randy Poindexter left the exhausting experience with the Krittenbrinks and immediately resumed leading the search and rescue operation. He and fellow workers continued their house-to-house quest to make sure everyone in the flooded areas of Kingfisher was brought to safety.
It is easy to draw a spiritual parallel between the search and rescue operation and our spiritual duty to rescue the perishing. Our Savior set the pattern. He would not return to Heaven until He had given His all so that lost sinners might be brought to eternal safety. The Holy Spirit is in constant pursuit of the lost. And He has set before the church the task of finding the perishing and extending the gospel message to them.
What if we were to compare the rescue operation displayed in Kingfisher to our churches and their search for the spiritually perishing in our communities? How would we measure up? Are our churches intensely and tirelessly seeking for every person in danger of the fires of hell? Are we conducting a house-to-house search to see that no one is left behind?
Let me get even more personal. There are people in every town who face the unrelenting flood of sin and Satan’s schemes to doom them to eternal Hell. Are we willing to do whatever it takes to offer them the only path to safety?
What would the millions of people watching the heroic rescue of the Krittenbrinks have thought if the rescuers had just waved, smiled and then flown off without trying to help? We would have excoriated those men, and they would be living in shame. How do we stack up in our rescue operation? Are we smiling and waving at people along our way who we know are perishing-and driving away without sharing the Good News?
For those who have not been conducting an intense and unrelenting search and rescue mission, it is encouraging to realize that it is not too late. Each of us can stop to consider those around us and share the good news. Our churches can turn from ineffective activity to focused search and rescue. It is only a decision away.