This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be glad in it, I hope you will as well. We are a blessed people aren't we? We just have a tendency to move on with life unthankful, even when God uses people to minister to us on a regular basis. When is the last time you said, "Thank you" to your Sunday School teacher, your child's school teacher, their Children's Pastor or Youth Pastor? What about your employer? Your employees? Your spouse? Your parents? I read a story this morning that touched my heart. I would like to share it with you. Some time ago there was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, and a line tugging in her mouth. Thankfully, a fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was in such bad condition that the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition.
Some time ago there was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, and a line tugging in her mouth.
Thankfully, a fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was in such bad condition that the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition.
One slap of the enormous whale's tail could kill a rescuer. Still the brave rescuers worked for hours cutting her free. One guy who was cutting the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time. Eventually they were able to free her.
As soon as she became free, the divers say she began to swim in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed gently around-she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
I hope that we will take a couple of lesson from this beautiful story.
- First of all, the lesson of FRIENDSHIP. So often we let the hurting in our churches and communities fall through the cracks, never to be seen again. But it is a brave soul who gathers up an army of rescuers to reach out to a suffering or hard to reach brother or sister and rescue him or her from the binding entanglements of this world. Just as the Lord has so mercifully reached out to us, we need to do the same. Whether it is a gift, an invitation to a meal or a smile and a word of encouragement, let's strive to reach out.
The past two days we have looked at Jobs friends and how they CAME TO HIM in the midst of his extreme loss and pain. Getting involved with Job cost them greatly, yet they did it anyway. That is exactly what the divers in the above story did as well…they got involved to help out a whale.
You and I are of much more value than a whale, and so are our neighbors, friends, co-workers, church family, so let's do everything we can to reach out to those today that the Holy Spirit brings to our minds. You just might be the answer to their hearts cry and prayer. Why don't you take the time today to pray this prayer, "Lord, please use me today to reach out to someone who is hurting and to make a difference in their life. I want the love of Jesus to shine through me, as well as the light and hope of the Lord to be seen through me." After you pray this, take time to be quiet and still and allow God's Spirit to speak into your heart. When He brings someone to your mind, act upon it. Send an email, text message, card, call them, visit them, whatever you feel the Lord directing you to do. Just get involved and fulfill the potential that God put within this day for you!
- Second lesson that I take from the whale story is the importance of being thankful. As I mentioned above, it is so easy to go through our day enjoying blessing after blessing and fail to say "thank you" first of all to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Secondly, we fail to say "thank you" to those who are impacting our lives. It reminds me of the following story from the Bible:
Luke 17:12-19 As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance (13) but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" (14) Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." They went, and while still on their way, became clean. (15) One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. (16) He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough--and he was a Samaritan. (17) Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? (18) Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?" (19) Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."
This is so challenging, yet troubling to me. All ten lepers were made clean by Jesus, as they were on their way to see the priest. The priest had to declare them clean before they were able to go home to their families. Can't you see them going towards the priest, then all of a sudden they realize that something has taken place…they are healed. They are about to be restored to their families. The excitement obviously overcomes them and they run even faster. However, one out of ten…10% of those who received such a gift from the Lord took the time to give Him thanks BEFORE he enjoyed another moment of this marvelous gift from God. Ten percent…that is sobering. Jesus asked the one, where are the other nine? Ninety percent were too busy enjoying God's blessings to take the time to offer thanks and praise to God. Where do I fit into this story? Am I a part of the minority that give God thanks or the majority that just wants to go on with life and enjoy God's blessings?
"Thank you Lord for this WHALE of a lesson! " Blessings!
Today's "THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR" Bible reading: Thursday (May 1, 2008) Psalm 17:1 – Psalm 19:14