You’re out to sea one beautiful Sunday morning on a weekend getaway cruise. All is bliss and delight until crew members notice 5 people in the water, with no life jacket, not raft, screaming for help, gasping for air.
The crew is ready, trained and capable of initiating a rescue. There is one problem. Some of the patrons of the cruise line want to be served their brunch. They paid for this trip. They planned for this trip. They chose the cruise line for this trip. They have put their order in.
The crew is torn. Do they honor those onboard with their desires? Do they save those in the water whose death seems imminent?
Seems like a simple decision, right? Seems like a ridiculous conflict, right?
It is a conflict that takes place all over America in churches every Sunday morning. Church leaders have a limited time frame and opportunity to connect with seekers who are out at sea, with no life jacket – gasping and desiring for spiritual breath – Yet, the focus put on them often angers, hurts and disappoints some church goers. They tithed. They want to talk. They chose to join this church. Are you going to spend most of your time focusing on those people who don’t go to church, or on us – the faithful members of this congregation?
I love church people. I love believers. I am one. But, I choose to initiate a rescue attempt. You should strongly consider doing so as well. The consequences are significant and eternal.
I once went to shake a lady’s hand at a welcoming moment during a church service a few years ago. She used the moment to inform me it had been three Sundays since I had done so. Her feelings were hurt. I calculated myself after that morning’s service – if I gave 30 seconds to every individual church member that morning it would have taken just under 1 hour. That is an hour I am happy to give, but not if people are in the water. I’m getting my life jacket on and I’m diving in. Brunch will just have to wait.