Thirteen years ago, our family visited 186 lighthouses in two months. I figured since lighthouses made such great sermon illustrations about rescuing the perishing, sending the light, and throwing out the lifeline, it would behoove me to learn more about historical lighthouses and the stories that go with them.
I soon learned that there were two different kinds of shoreline “rescue missions.” One of them was the large group of lighthouses that would send out a light or sound a fog bell or whistle to let the captains of ships know where the rocks or islands were. The purpose was to keep them from having a shipwreck.
The other establishments consisted of a similar number of lifesaving stations whose purpose it was to go out onto the lake or sea, even in severe weather to try to rescue anyone who had already been shipwrecked. Their motto was: “They had to go, but they did not have to come back.” These were the brave souls who risked life and limb to man the lifeboats and to throw out the lifeline. I just figured that the lighthouse keeper did both jobs.
I learned that we often assume that we know all about many things, until we study them. Then we find out that we knew very little about them.
God tells each Christian to be like a lighthouse keeper and let your “…light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” But God also calls each of us to be a soulwinner and to rescue the perishing. We should go out to those who are shipwrecked on life’s seas. He wants us to throw out the life line to those who are sinking in their sins.
The summer before we saw the 186 lighthouses, we saw many other lighthouses. We also visited the historic Virginia Beach Life Saving Station. You can go down to the shore and see it for yourself. Stand there and take a look at the windows from which many a boatman vigilantly watched for shipwrecks, especially in bad weather. Walk the beach and imagine the diligence of surf men who walked the same sandy shore, day and night, to keep from overlooking someone in distress. Look at the huge “garage doors” that once were flung open to launch the surf boats out into the deep to rescue lost souls.
Yes, these men had to go, but they knew there was no guarantee of returning safely to shore alive. They were required to give their all in order that someone might be saved.
Christian, you have been asked by the precious Saviour to let your light shine. God has also called you to go out and seek the lost. Will you be vigilant? Will you be as prepared as the surf men were to launch out to rescue someone from their sin? God wants you to be a faithful lighthouse keeper and to be a member of the lifeboat crew.