For God’s Sake Just Throw The Rope.
A group of people stood on the edge of a dock observing a swimmer who was obviously in trouble and about to drown. At their feet lay a coil of rope.
“Well the rope is certainly long enough to reach him”, said the first man.
“And strong enough to bear his weight” added another.
“Yes, and there are enough of us to bring him in to safety” said one of the women.
They then began a long and involved discussion about the rope. Was it made by hand or machine? Was it made in a place that had health and safety rules and an equal opportunities policy? Was it made from natural or synthetic fibers? And so on.
The drowning man, who was near enough to hear them, screamed out, “ I couldn’t care less about all that, for God’s sake just throw me the rope”.
It can be like that with the gospel message. The unsaved people in the world are heading for eternal damnation while the church stands by and spends an inordinate amount of time and energy debating internal issues of doctrine, regulation, translation, form, substance, and so on.
Debate is healthy and necessary in order to divine the truth of God’s word and then to walk in it. However, for the world out there all these details are irrelevant. The thing they desperately need to understand is that they need a Redeemer and that God in his love sent Jesus who has done all that is necessary for their eternal safety and security. In the analogy of the swimmer and the rope – Jesus is the rope, so first get the drowning man to safety and then you can discuss the details of the rope.
I have been privileged to serve in the Kairos International prison ministry where people from every denomination from devout Roman Catholics to tongue speaking Pentecostals set their doctrinal differences to one side and carry the Gospel message to the unsaved who are incarcerated in correctional institutions.
I have also served in the Through Faith Missions program of the Walk of a Thousand Men where a thousand (and more) men in teams of ten back packed around UK taking only $5.00 a day with them and trusted the Lord for meals and accommodation. The $5.00 was to spend in cafes and pubs so that they could spread the Gospel there.
In both these programs the urgency of the need of the unsaved and the commandment of Jesus to spread the Good News took priority over our personal doctrinal stances on innumerable secondary issues.
The question we all need to ask ourselves is – what percentage of our time is spent in taking the Gospel out to the fallen world compared to how much time we spend on internal church issues?
They are not mutually exclusive but we need to get the balance right.
There is a multitude of dying people out there; for God’s sake lets throw them a rope.