S52P2 – Outside ourselves: emergency response

Jude 1:17-23

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

It was a strange time to be alive.  He would walk the streets from home to work or the store, and it seemed like every day a building was going up in flames.  At all hours of the day and night he could hear the sirens. For some reason, the city was burning.  It got to the point at which this was just part and parcel for anyone living in town.  It happened so regularly that he even stopped contacting emergency services whenever he would see a fire.  He just assumed someone else already had made the call.  One day, he walked by a home that was beginning to become engulfed by flames.  As he looked, he noticed an old woman sitting in a chair by the window reading the newspaper.  She seemed to be unphased and completely unaware of the fire going on around her. For the first time in a long time, something stirred inside him.  He was moved to act and save her from the fire instead of waiting by idly.

We all know people who are sitting in their chairs, reading their papers, completely oblivious to the infernos that rage around them.  Today’s scripture tells us that we are able to snatch these people right out of the fire.  Yes, we can pray for God’s intervention and their realization of who Jesus Christ is; prayer is a very critical component to all of this. However, there is action that we can take and should take as well. While being sensitive to the Spirit, there are times when we will be ordained to speak a word that shakes a person’s foundation and helps them realize how critical this time actually is.  The words we speak in these times are not in vain regardless of any outcome.  When God moves us to try and snatch someone out of the fire, we are simply tools performing his work.  It may be frightening to take that step, but we must have faith that God is moving us in that direction for his good and perfect purpose.

I do not know whether I would have the courage to run into a real burning building and save someone who otherwise would not survive.  I hope that I would be moved with quickness and compassion to do just that if ever faced with the situation.  This should make us wonder whether, spiritually speaking, we are prepared and willing to run in and save people from the fire.  We probably walk by these burning foundations on a daily basis without batting an eyelash, but perhaps God wants to move us to more if we simply make ourselves available for that.  Perhaps our role in the salvation of others is much more critical and active than we think.  Perhaps we need to be more observant of the fires burning near us daily.  Father, open our eyes to the unsaved around us, and give us the courage and compassion to want to snatch them out of the fire even today.