Today as I sat and read I came across this expert from William Booth’s Vision of the Lost. For those needing a little more background, William Booth is the founder of the Salvation Army. Here is what he writes:
I saw a dark and stormy ocean. Over it the black clouds hung heavily; through them every now and then vivid winds moaned, and the waves rose and foamed, towered and broke, only to rise and foam, tower and break again. In that ocean I thought I saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, shouting and shrieking, cursing and struggling and drowning; and as they cursed and screamed they rose and shrieked again, and then some sank to rise no more. And I saw out of this dark angry ocean, a mighty rock that rose up with its summit towering high above the black clouds that overhung the stormy sea. And all around the base of this great rock I saw a vast platform. Onto this platform, I saw with delight a number of the poor struggling, drowning wretches continually climbing out of the angry ocean. And I saw that a few of those who were already safe on the platform were helping the poor creatures still in the angry waters to reach the place of safety. On looking more closely I found a number of those who had been rescued, industriously working and scheming by ladders, ropes, boats and other means more effective, to deliver the poor strugglers out of the sea. Here and there were some who actually jumped into the water, regardless of the consequences in their passion to “rescue the perishing”. And I hardly know which gladdened me the most— the sight of the poor drowning people climbing onto the rocks reaching a place of safety, or the devotion and self-sacrifice of those whose whole being was wrapped up in the effort for their deliverance. As I looked on, I saw that the occupants of that platform were quite a mixed company. That is, they were divided into different “sets” or classes, and they occupied themselves with different pleasures and employments. But only a very few of them seemed to make it their business to get the people out of the sea. But what puzzled me most was the fact that though all of them had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone seemed to have forgotten all about it. Anyway, it seemed the memory of its darkness and danger no longer troubled them at all. And what seemed equally strange and perplexing to me was that these people did not even seem to have any care— that is any agonizing care— about the poor perishing ones who were struggling and drowning right before their very eyes… many of whom were their own husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and even their own children. – William Booth, Vision of the Lost.
Quite often when we consider discipleship and ask the question of “why?” we respond with the answer that Jesus commands us to disciple. However, there is a far more reaching element of why we disciple, why we rescue the lost. Yes, Jesus commands, but it is also God’s method of restoring a broken world. We don’t disciple and evangelize blindly, we do so because through our own redemption, our own salvation, we learn to see through the eyes of Jesus Christ and truly view ourselves no greater than any other man. If you are in Christ do not forget that once you were also in that dark sea.
Through Booth’s illustration, where do you see yourself? Are you in the dark waters needing rescued, or are you sitting on the platform trying to decide whether to dive in to save those that need rescuing? Wherever you are I encourage you to come out this Sunday and join us for worship and our fellowship meal following the service. Let us attempt to make sense of this journey together.