January 3, 2023
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20, NIV).
Last Saturday in Durres we held our last small group sessions. The Albanian minister had clearly delivered the gospel. At our table 10 young healthcare students were asked their thoughts. Most were agnostic with cultural backgrounds in Islam or Orthodox Christianity. The major sticking point for them was the unfairness of God to exclude good people who sought Him through other religions. A loving God would not be so exclusive.
In 1925, Tom Lee was maneuvering his 28-foot boat up the Mississippi River when he watched the swift current catch and capsize the steamboat, M.E. Norman, with 55 passengers aboard. Though he could not swim himself, Tom Lee made five trips to fill his boat with drowning passengers and saved 32 lives, quitting only when darkness made it impossible to continue. He is a true African American hero, with a riverside park dedicated to him in Memphis, Tennessee.
No one would ever accuse Tom Lee of excluding the remaining 23 passengers he could not find. And yet, people do that with God.
God sends none of us to death or hell. We are all drowning in our own imperfections and rebellion against our Creator. “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10b, ESV).
The story of the cross is not the story of a vindictive God sending folks to their death because He is angry at our imperfections, but the story of a God who is constantly reaching out to us as we drown in a river of our own choosing. The only ones who are lost are those who refuse to reach for His nail-scarred hand. The exclusiveness of our faith comes not from God’s decision, but from ours. He holds out the hand of Jesus the Christ to save all who are drowning in sin. We are the ones who choose to be excluded if we refuse to take His hand.
Thank you for reaching out to all. Let me reach for others with you.
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