This week I watched The World Trade Center for the second time.
I cried. Again.
This movie is based on the real life events of Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin, two Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police who were two of the only 20 people rescued alive from the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin were rescues 18 and 19.
I cried because of the horrific day it was for America.
But quite honestly, I also cried as a Christian.
Whenever I watch rescue movies, I invariably reminded that salvation is a rescue and God has called me to be a first responder of peoples’ souls.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves… Colossians 1:13
When I watch first responders running into burning, collapsing towers knowing they may not go home to their families that night, I wonder.
What level of risk I am willing to take as a Christian for someone’s soul?
How dirty am I willing to get? How sweaty? How tired are we willing to become? How strenuously am I willing to work? How much am I willing to risk? Responders that day dug through rubble in the dark to seek people out, to listen carefully for any cry for help or the weakest of tapes. Each left the comfort of their home and families they loved to enter danger and the unknown.
What can be said of me?
Certain scenes hang in my head now two days later:
- A scene where a first responder knows he is risking his life to enter the rubble in order to pull a guy out. He tells his partner to make sure his wife and kids love him in case something happens, the he goes in.
- A scene where one trapped man begs his rescuer to cut off his leg because the rescuer will be able to get to his trapped buddy a bit faster. I cried wondering if I risk life and limb for those trapped in darkness sitting 20 feet from me.
- A scene where Dave Karnes in Wilton, Connecticut feels led to put on his Marine Corps uniform and travel to New York City to enter the rubble. No one told him to go. He operated alone. He just went and looked.
Dave Karnes found Will and John.
Not sure how I am doing as a first responder in the kingdom of God when I watch movies like this. I look at how I spend my time, carefully tending to my energy levels, making sure my family is cared for first, making sure my job gets a quality employee. Of course these are God-ordained priorities; but can I really live life on a rescue mission without sacrificing other priorities?
I don’t think so.
Not sure if my boundaries are set a little too comfortably. Can’t remember the last time I was sweating in pleading prayer for the lost or sweating as I helped another person who needed Jesus most of all. I need to meet that new neighbor, but later, when I can fit the visit comfortably into my schedule and go to her home after my new house is all unpacked and I carry fresh cookies on a pretty plate with a nice outfit on, putting my best foot forward for Christ’s sake.
This scenario does not describe ONE of the gallant, heroic, amazing first responders who drove to work on September 11 toward the chaos.
Rescue. Service. Sacrifice.
How are we doing fellow Christ followers?
I think I am doing fine and then I watch these movies about the truth of what life as a first responder is really like. Then I am put in my place, and I am reminded about quotes like this one:
I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light— John Keith Falconer
Picture Explanation: There are first responders in Christian camps all around the world. Thank you to every camp counselor who heads to the mountains to meet kids they don’t know and make gritty decisions to get to develop relationships with whoever lands in their cabin…while sweating in the heat, getting muddy and wet and sacrificing sleep. All for those moments when a camper starts asking questions about God. Counselors, you pass the first responder test. Last week, my son was one of the kids that benefited.
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