Her name is Maryann. Last week I attended a class in Advanced First-Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, which she presented with reassuring confidence. Her poise was developed over thirty years as an emergency medical services worker, coupled with more than a decade as an EMS instructor. Not only has she saved hundreds of lives, she has also trained thousands of others to save lives. Thus, hers was not a mere academic presentation of procedures. She had first-hand knowledge of what really mattered when life and death were on the line. She captivated our attention.
Something she repeated numerous times has been replaying in my mind. As she reviewed each phase of the CPR skills, Maryann would say in a deliberate and firm voice, “Do something! Anything you do is better than nothing at all. They’re going to die if you don’t do something!” After providing us with a base of knowledge and skills upon which to act, she was urging us to take life-saving action! Since last Tuesday night, when I attended the class, many spiritual applications of this admonition have been running through my mind. Let me share a few.
As Christ’s disciples, we are on a life-saving mission. To be precise, it’s more like a life-giving mission. The terrible tragedy of sin is not just that it is present in the world; but, it is present in every person’s life. According to Ephesians 2:1, each sinful soul is “dead” in “transgressions and sins.” Thus, the urgency is underscored. The spiritual death certificate has been signed. Eternal destiny, though, is yet to be decided. Thankfully, Christ died for our sins once for all—the righteous for the unrighteous—to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Sinners can be “made alive with Christ” even though they “were dead in transgressions” (Eph. 2:5). Now that’s good news!
Christians have been commissioned by Christ to share this Good News. The base of knowledge from which we are to operate is already in place. For if you know enough to be a Christian, then you know enough to tell another person how to become a Christian. We must not overlook the urgency of the matter at hand. Indeed, if we listen with our hearts, I’m persuaded we can hear Jesus calling out to His present-day squad of rescue workers in a clarion voice, “Do something!”
From the EMS trainer’s point-of-view, the urgency of the admonition to do something decisive stems from experiencing the severe consequence of indecision and inaction. Lives have been lost simply because no one took the initiative. Everyone was thinking that someone was doing something when, in reality, no one was doing anything.
How many times has the curse of indecision and neglect hampered our efforts to rescue the perishing? Have our good intentions and good works been thwarted by analysis paralysis? How many life-giving missions have been missed, while members of the body of Christ debated over methodology and missiology? When a heart attack victim is lying unconscious on the floor in front of us, NOW is the time for decisive action! They are going to die if we don’t do something! When it comes to sharing the Good News, it is time for us to recognize that we are surrounded by a veritable sea of sin-sick souls who desperately need to hear the life-giving Gospel of Christ. We must do something!
One more thing. As I sat listening to Maryann’s expert presentation, scenes from past filled my memory. It was over twenty-six years ago that I first learned CPR. In fact, a quarter of a century ago, while serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy, I became a paramedic in California. I was even certified to teach CPR to Marines. But, I let my credentials expire. So, I needed to be taught again the elementary principles of First-Aid and CPR.
The principle in force is: If you don’t use it, you lose it! In this regard Paul said to Philemon, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 6). As life-saving skills are kept current through practice, so, also, is our understanding of the Gospel enhanced through the sharing of our faith. Each time we share the Good News we are, in a way, being recertified in the faith in order that we might be prepared, when confronted with an opportunity to share our faith to DO SOMETHING!
By the way, Maryann is a Messianic Jew, who also loves to talk about her Lord, Y’shua.
© Bill Williams
October 27, 2005