Each of us has a role to play in rescuing those who are drowning inÂ sin. Read this beautiful story.
Walking through the forest, a seasoned hiker came upon a broad, slowlyÂ moving river. He stopped to gaze over the waters, appreciating theÂ beauty, when suddenly he heard a faint cry coming from upstream.Â Looking in the direction of the noise, he saw an obviously drowningÂ man floundering in the river and drifting slowly toward him.
The hiker was stunned momentarily, but he sprang into action when heÂ saw the man disappear beneath the waters. Throwing off all of hisÂ cumbersome gear, he dove into the river and swam like a madman towardÂ the spot where the man went under.
Upon reaching the spot he plunged below the surface and franticallyÂ hauled up the helpless man. He then laboriously towed the victim toÂ shore. Heaving the lifeless body up on the riverbank, the hikerÂ attempted to revive the man, who eventually spit up water and began toÂ breathe.
Relieved, the hiker paused to catch his breath. But no sooner had heÂ done so than he heard another voice out on the water. Another drowningÂ person!Â Once again he swam out and pulled the person to shore, a little moreÂ slowly this time. As the hiker-turned-lifeguard revived the secondÂ victim, he heard yet another cry for help.
All day long the hiker worked, rescuing one person after another asÂ they came drifting down the river. There seemed to be no end ofÂ drowning victims, and the hiker didn’t think he could keep it up.
Just when he was about to collapse from exhaustion, he spotted anotherÂ man walking rapidly beside the river, headed upstream. “Hey mister!”Â he cried out. “Please help me! These poor people are drowning!”Â Amazingly, the man kept walking upstream. The astonished hiker calledÂ out again.
Without even acknowledging the cry, the man kept going.Â Indignant and angry, the hiker leapt to his feet, ran toward theÂ uncompassionate man, stood directly in his path, and in a loud voiceÂ demanded, “Sir! How can you possibly walk past all these drowningÂ people? Have you no conscience? Must I force you to help me save theseÂ people?”
The stranger stopped, looked at him for the first time and said with aÂ calm, focused voice, “Sir, please get out of my way. I am headedÂ upstream to stop the guy who is pushing all these people in.”
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Each of us has a role to play in rescuing those who are drowning inÂ sin. Some of us pull people from the water and resuscitate them withÂ counseling, food and shelter, a rehabilitation program, a supportÂ group, or financial aid. Affirm those doing these importantÂ ministries.
Others of us find our place of ministry upstream, opposing the oneÂ pushing people into the river. We do this by introducing those peopleÂ to Jesus Christ. Knowing Christ sets a person free from sin andÂ releases them from Satan’s power over them.
By itself, pulling people from the water isn’t enough.Â We need to help people deal with the problem of sin at its source.