Luke 15:6 (ESV)
And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
I came across this story the other day.
Some time ago there was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, and a line tugging in her mouth.
Thankfully, a fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was in such bad condition that the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition.
One slap of the enormous whale's tail could kill a rescuer. Still, the brave rescuers worked for hours cutting her free. One guy who was cutting the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time. Eventually, they were able to free her.
As soon as she became free, the divers say she began to swim in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed gently around-she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
We can learn a lesson from this beautiful story. So often we let the hurting in our churches and communities fall through the cracks, never to be seen again. But it is a brave soul who gathers up an army of rescuers to reach out to a suffering or hard to reach brother or sister and rescue him or her from the binding entanglements of this world. Just as the Lord has so mercifully reached out to us, we need to do the same. Whether it is a gift, an invitation to a meal or a smile and a word of encouragement, let's strive to reach out.
We need to be the first to initiate this kind of rescue team for our brothers and sisters. It will be just as beautiful as it will be rewarding.
Dear Lord, help us to gather up an army of rescuers to reach out to a suffering and hard to reach brother or sister and rescue them from the binding entanglements of this world. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.