Once there sat a small life saving station by the sea shore of a small fishing village. The rough currents and the rocks that surrounded the opening of the port damaged or wrecked numerous ships just off the coast. The stranded and scared travelers would jump into the cold dark water and swim for their lives as their damaged ship slowly sunk beneath the raging waters of the unforgiving sea. Because of all the lives that were lost to the sea, one of the villagers decided to build a life saving station to save those lost at sea on the coast of this small fishing village.
As time passed, the little life saving station performed the job it was destined to do. Every time there were ships wretched at sea, someone from the life saving station would quickly man the life saving boats and row out to rescue the lost in the water. Over the years, many lives were saved because of this station and the service they supplied. Soon, the grateful decided to show how much they appreciated the efforts of those that manned the life saving station.
Many returned with material and rebuilt the little rugged station into an amazing structure for the ships to see as they came closer to the coast. They constructed a humongous lighthouse to cast light out into the dark of the night. They raised funds to buy better life saving boats and built showers outside the buildings for those that were dirty from their dip in the sea to shower before they came in brand new building. Lastly they decorated the new building with better decorations. Soon the call went out for more volunteers to man the life saving station and many came and gave their time.
Because the small village started to grow, more ships continued to venture to the shore of the small fishing village. More ships came to trade and sell their goods and more ships become damaged by the waves and rocks. Soon, they people decided to build more life saving stations to rescue the stranded travelers that became lost at sea. As the coast became littered with small life saving stations, the stations started competing against each other. To see which life saving station was the best, they would hold rowing and swimming competitions when the sea was calm and still. They would hold membership drives to see which life saving station could get the most volunteers. Soon, a lot of activities developed around the life saving station.
In time, the now large fishing community raised enough money to remove some of the hazards in the harbor. Because of this much need work the number of ship wrecks decreased greatly. Soon, because of the lack of ship wrecks, most of the life saving stations decided to become beachfront social clubs. As the community continued to grow, the people soon forgot about life saving and instead turned to parting all night. Eventually, they stopped turning on the light at the lighthouse because the harbor was not deemed safe. They closed the last life saving station and forgot about rescuing the lost from the sea.
Unsuspectingly, a large storm came to the coast in the middle of the shipping season. The storm last for four long days and a great number of ships became damaged upon the remaining rocks in the harbor. However, many lives were lost at sea when they jumped into the cold unforgiving water trying to escape their impending fate. These lives were unfortunately lost not because all of the life saving stations were closed or even because they jumped into the turbulent sea. These precious lives were lost because those that had volunteered to be life savers decided to spend their time partying instead. The questions that we need to ask are: what are our life saving stations doing? Moreover, are we doing our job as one of God’s life savers or are you just having a Holy Ghost party instead?
(I can not take credit for this illustration. I heard the story told by my father, the late Rev. Roosevelt Leon Walker, Jr.)