the BLOG of stuart mcdonald


The Privilege of Sacrifice
December 9, 2008, 2:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was up late the other night, which is such a shocker, watching a movie called, “The Guardian”. I starred Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher as US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. It’s a great movie with a lot of teachable moments but there were 2 that really stuck out for me.

The first was a scene when the swimmers first entered the “A” School, where they’d go through their training and certification. The instructor stands before the class and says, “If by some miracle you actually have what it takes to become one of us, then you get to live a life of meager pay with the distinct possibility of dying slow, cold and alone somewhere in the vast sea. However, you also get the chance to save lives, and there is no greater calling in the world than that.”

There is no greater calling in the world than to have the chance to save lives. Thank God that it is the high calling He gives to each and every believer. Now, what you do with that call is yours; just like when the phone rings. You can choose to answer it, ignore it, answer, listen, and hang up, or even unplug the phone from the jack. God has given all believers the responsibility to carry on the work that He started when He was here on Earth. The work to share the Good News of His Grace to those who don’t yet know or believe.

What a great responsibility He has given to us! That he would entrust such a powerful job to us, lowly humans is amazing! We have the opportunity to save, not only spiritual lives but, physical ones as well. There is no way to know what kind of situation the person you share Christ with may be in. They may be headed to kill themselves, whether through suicide, drug overdose, alcohol, or something else, but God knew and He divinely set us in their pathway. It is simply our job to share what we already know. We share what God has done for us, because what God has done for us cannot be disputed.

It is not our duty to make sure that they receive immediate salvation and begin right away on the straight and narrow path. No, it is our duty simply to share the message with them and leave it in their hands. What they do with the message is up to them, but we must be faithful with our part. A seed must go through all the stages of life in order; from planting, to watering, to harvesting. If any one of those stages is left out, the plant will not reach it’s God given potential. The same is true for unbelievers. We have to understand that it may not be our job to plant, water, and harvest all in the same time and place. God’s plans and ideas are so much more magnificent than ours could ever even hope to me and we must understand that as we share His message.

The second moment was the last 5 minutes of the movie, which I won’t give away, but it includes a song by Bryan Adams in the ending credits in which the following lyrics are sung: “Can you lay your life down, so a stranger can live? Can you take what you need, but take less than you give? Could you close every day, without the glory and fame? Could you hold your head high, when no one knows your name? That’s how legends are made, at least that’s what they say.”

Their entire profession of a rescue swimmer is based on others in dire need of their help; to the point where they continually risk their own lives in order to save strangers that they may never see, or hear from again. The same could be said about firefighters, police officers, and soldiers in other branches of the military, but what struck me specifically about the rescue swimmers was their motto, “So others may live.” They are also the only group that is guaranteed to have to put themselves in harm’s way. With the others, there’s that possibility, but when rescue swimmers go out, there is no doubt that they will be challenged and that they may have to potentially make the ultimate sacrifice by trading their life for someone else’s.

And isn’t that in essence why we should live our lives as Christ did? Isn’t that why we should desire to live pure and holy lives that are consecrated and set apart for God to use? So that others might see our example, and because of God’s grace, accept His free gift and live for eternity?

John 15:13 says this: “No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” We must make the choice to give up those things that may not be inherently bad, but are not necessarily wise either, in order that no one who would watch our lives would stumble. We should strive to live lives that no one would be able to find fault with. I’m not saying, “Let’s all be perfect.” Clearly we just can’t attain that. If we could there would be no need for God. What I am saying is, let’s stay away from things we know will cause us to trip, or may trip up others watching. Let’s strive to have God’s heart and mind, and use wisdom in all that we do.

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