Archive for May, 2014

06
May
14

It’s Easy for the Church to Lose Sight of What It is

It’s Easy for the Church to Lose Sight of What It is

In his message, “The Making of Disciples of All Nations” (June 9, 1985), Dr. John MacArthur shares a compelling illustration about the church:

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut and there was only one boat but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and with no thought for their safety went out day and night, tirelessly rescuing the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little lifesaving station. So it became famous.

Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and crews were trained and the little life station grew.

Some of the members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt a more comfortable place should be provided, as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots and beds and put better furniture in the large building.

Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions so they hired lifeboat crews to do the work.

The lifesaving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where club initiations were held. And about this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick. The beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So, the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting there was a split in the club membership and most of the members wanted to stop the lifesaving activity because they were a hindrance and unpleasant to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted on lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out they were still a lifesaving station after all. They were finally voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast…which they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that occurred in the old. It evolved into a club and another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself and if you visit that coast today, you’ll find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore, shipwrecks are still frequent but most of the people drown.

It’s easy for the church, isn’t it, to lose sight of what it is…so easy.

How about you?

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