“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Rescue Heroes, by Randall D. Kittle

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:10

As I was praying, I saw a room filled with rescue workers. There were firemen, paramedics, lifeguards, policemen, emergency room doctors, park rangers, coast guard officers and many others. All of them were fully dressed and fully equipped — ready for action at a moment’s notice. They stood there as if waiting for a call to action. Their number seemed endless — spreading out as far as the eye could see.

Suddenly, two large doors began to swing open, and I heard the Lord declare,
“I am releasing My Church into this world as spiritual rescue workers. They will quench the very fires of hell. They will bring back to life those who are lifeless. They will throw the lifeline of hope to those sinking in despair. They will help those who are lost to find the right path. And they will snatch as many as possible from the ocean of eternal death that desires to swallow them. I have commissioned you to rescue the lost. Do not say that you cannot complete the mission, for you have all you need. You have Me!”

The World Needs Rescuing
It is so easy for us to be consumed with the daily routines of our busy lives. But God wants to fill our hearts with a passion to see the people in our lives the way He sees them — in need of being rescued. The Bible shows us how God sees those who don’t know Him. He says they are:

“living in darkness” (Matthew 4:16)

“staggering toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11).

“perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

“condemned” (John 3:18)

If we ask the Lord, He will give us eyes to see others as He sees them, and we will soon discover how empty and desperate those around us truly are. Jesus wants us to share in His compassion for the lost, and gain an urgency to lead these lost ones to Him, the Good Shepherd.

Until we have a sense of urgency about the rescue mission God has entrusted to us, those around us will remain in their current state of peril. We must ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His and allow Him to give us His love and compassion for them.

Start Where You’re At
If we are willing to let God break our hearts for the lost, He will use us in magnificent ways. He will start with those closest to us with whom we already have relationships. It doesn’t matter what we do for a living, what kind of personality we have, or what talents or gifts He has given us — we are all equipped and responsible for reaching those who do not yet know Christ.

Each of us is responsible for trying to rescue the spiritually lost people God has placed in our lives. When we realize that our everyday activities are divinely ordered, we will start to understand the significance of the things we do and the people we meet. God has surrounded us with people who we can reach better than anyone else. We work at the jobs we do, live in the neighborhoods we do, go to the schools we do, and shop at the malls we do by God’s design.

Lost people are looking for common, everyday people to reach out to them — people who will share their lives, their testimonies, with them. They are not waiting to talk with some seminary-trained pastor. Most of them wouldn’t talk to a pastor about their lives anyway. The task before us is to use the natural platforms God’s already provided us to rescue those He has placed in our circle of contacts.

All of us have been given the divine assignment of being part of God’s rescue mission — saving people from eternity in hell. But He has promised we don’t have to do it alone. Our job is simply to be watching, willing, and available — and to reach out to as many as possible. It is God’s power that will enable us to accomplish this mission. It is only as we are yielded and obedient to the Holy Spirit that we will be fruitful.

Not only are we to share our lives and testimonies, we are to be ambassadors for God by sharing with them the Good News
“that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). We also need to instruct them how to respond. “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We can encourage them that repentance isn’t about disparaging themselves enough to deserve God’s forgiveness, but renouncing their every effort of being worthy and accepting Jesus’ finished work on the Cross. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is Search & Rescue
This is a search and rescue mission, and serious rescuing often requires searching. People lost at sea don’t usually swim to the lifeboats. People in a collapsed building don’t normally dig their way out. And children in a burning building often are too frightened or overcome by smoke to run to safety. We must search for them! Searching means reaching out to the lost … not expecting them to come to us. We must start with those we come in contact with regularly, but we must not stop there. We must be willing to go beyond, to extend our reach to others who are perishing.

Jesus is sending those who believe in Him on a search and rescue mission. Why? Because He knows what the future holds for those headed for eternity without Him. This is what Jesus said,
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). If we truly believe that, we know how serious and important this search and rescue mission is.

If you saw your neighbor drowning in their swimming pool, would you just wave politely and drive off to work? If your coworker was choking and about to pass out, would you simply stay at your workstation and get your work completed so you’d be done on time? If your niece was lost and no one knew where she was, would you just sit at home and finish watching your favorite TV program? NO! All around us are those at great peril. Let us see them as the Lord does … care about them as He does … and do all we can to be God’s rescue heroes!

Let Us Fill the Lifeboats
One of the greatest tragedies during the sinking of the Titanic was that many of those who made it into the water alive were left stranded by the half-empty lifeboats that quickly rowed away without rescuing them. Out of the twenty lifeboats rowing to safety, only one turned back in time to save any of the other passengers. More than 300 of the 1,517 people who died that night lost their lives simply because those who were already safe in their lifeboats didn’t go back to rescue them!

The story of the Titanic is an apt picture of much of the Church in our day. We who are saved and comfortable in our churches are failing to rescue those who are drowning in the world around us. God is urging us to have hearts that are
“not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9), and begin to reach out to those struggling to survive in the waters of this world.

Heavenly Father, You have been so gracious in rescuing us. Please forgive us for our complacency. Give us eyes to see the lost as You see them, and give us a measure of your compassion for them. Break our hearts for what breaks yours, and help us to see those You have positioned near us to rescue. We can save no one, but You can reach many through us as we yield to your precious Spirit, and so we yield our hearts afresh to You and say, “Lord, make us your rescue heroes!”

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