Rescue the Perishing
July 31, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’ - Matthew 9:37-38.
There has been another rescue attempt that was valiant in its effort, but it has failed. The first attempt to rescue the whales was successful for most of them with 45 being pushed back out to sea. Sadly, the next day the whales again beached themselves and again many tried to save the whales, but they could not. Why the creatures beached themselves is uncertain and there are many possibilities. It may have been because of illness of a few of the whales, or because of the geography of the Cape Cod area interfering with their innate sonar or something else entirely. Needless to say, it was a sad time for those who had tried so hard to help the whales.
Have you ever made a spiritual rescue attempt and failed? You’ve shared your testimony, or you’ve explained the way of salvation, used the four spiritual laws, a tract, EE, CWT, or some other method of witnessing but the person rejected Christ. It is a sad day when that happens, and it is even sadder for us when the person is a friend or relative. For many of us when we witness to someone, and the gospel is rejected we take it personally as though the person was rejecting us personally. But that is not true. We have fulfilled our responsibility before God being a watchman, sharing the truth and when the gospel is rejected it is God they are rejecting.
Another aspect of rejection is that it clouds our perception of the harvest, and we tend to think that there are few that can be saved. But that is not what our Lord says. He says and it is true even if our witnessing efforts have been rejected that the harvest is still plentiful, and the workers are still few. If today more people were trapped in a terrorist attack on a building in New York City would the Firefighters and Police Officers fail to respond because not all of their rescue efforts were successful during the 9/11 attack? Of course, they would respond! They would respond again with courage, with great heroism even at the risk of losing their own lives. Just because one rescue attempt fails does not mean that we eliminate rescue attempts. We must continue on knowing that there will be failures but that the harvest is still plentiful and if we faithfully share the gospel some will be saved.
About nine years ago I shared my testimony with a man, and he responded by saying what I have heard many times by saying, “I’m not ready yet.” After hearing that response, I thought there was little hope that he would ever be saved. However, recently one of our deacons shared with me that he had talked with the man again about his salvation and this time he had responded by sharing that he had been saved and was a Christian. Amazing! Even though it may appear that we have failed we may still have sowed a seed into their lives that others will water and eventually the harvest of their soul will occur.
Don’t give up. Keep on witnessing. Keep on trying to rescue the perishing because the harvest is indeed plentiful!!