On Saturday evening July 9th, 10 people had been pulled 100 yards off the shore of Panama City Beach. A riptide had separated these individuals from the shore and was threatening them with drowning. Some of the ten were adults who had gone trying to rescue two young boys and got pulled into the riptide themselves. Rescuers on the shore were waiting for a boat to aid the victims, when someone started yelling to form a human chain. Beach goers began linking arms and legs forming a 100 yard human chain. Then they would pass each of the exhausted swimmers through the chain back to safety. All ten were saved. One 63 year old lady caught in the riptide experienced a massive heart attack, but is expected to survive.
This story is a visual illustration of what the church is to be to the world.
The church must link arms and legs in service and unity to reach out to the world. Our calling is to be united together in our outreach. Our evangelism cannot be based solely on the preacher or sermons given from a pulpit. We must link together, combining our talents to rescue the lost.
The church must pass the rescued along to the shore of safety. The image of them passing the drowning victims through the human chain back to the shore is insightful. When someone comes to Jesus, everyone in the church should want to touch them. Every person is needed to encourage and rally around them as they learn the Christian life. We must show our support and give them a helping hand in their journey to heaven.
The church must be willing to risk wading out into treacherous waters to save sinking sinners. The beachgoers who entered the water, risked their own lives to save others. We must be willing to take risks and step out in faith in order to reach the lost.
How is your congregation doing as a human chain leading others to salvation? Maybe more directly, how are you doing in linking arms with other Christians to rescue drowning sinners from the world?