Dwight Nelson 4 – Nantucket Humane Society
This was the last of Pastor Dwight’s messages, and he took the opportunity to first share a story with us about the Nantucket Humane Society, which was basically a community coastwatch who would watch for a sinking ship then go out to retrieve as many survivors as possible, as a matter of fact they had a motto which was “You have to go out but you don’t have to come back” quite a noble and selfless concept to say the least.
Eventually however, a professional coastwatch took over from them, the peculiar thing was, they could not bring themselves to disband, so to this day they still all get together for meetings and dinner etc, but in their words, they are just “No longer in the life saving business”
Viewed in isolation, this is an interesting anecdote, compare it to churches and it is unsettling indeed, are we still in the life-saving business? or have we also become a “club” to eat together and re-live old memories?
In John 12:24 there is an interesting reply Jesus gives to his Disciples Philip and Andrew which the Nantucket Humane Society understood all too well while they were still in the life saving business…
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Jesus was not only referring to his imminent death, but we see in verse 26 he tells us that, we must follow his example and die to self. It is clear that the best seed is a buried one, you must be buried in order to grow and produce fruit. I think this is best illustrated by the following Quote;
All who would bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ must first fall into the ground and die. The life must be cast into the furrow of the world’s need. Self-love, self-interest, must perish. But the law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation. The seed buried in the ground produces fruit, and in turn this is planted. Thus the harvest is multiplied. The [farmer] preserves his grain by casting it away. So in human life, to give is to live. The life that will be preserved is the life that is freely given in service to God and man. Those who for Christ’s sake sacrifice their life in this world, will keep it unto life eternal. (Christ Object Lessons pp 86,87)
Dieing to self is one of the most difficult parts of the Christian walk, but praise the Lord we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
“You have to go out but you don’t have to come back”
[you can find the full primetime series at the pmchurch website]