The Parable of the Life Saving Station - A Reflection on Luke 5:27-32
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus kept some pretty strange company, but when your mission is “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18), then that is sure to happen. How else can one take the good news to them? So, I think this might be a good time to check out the company WE keep because that is indicative of the nature of OUR mission.
A few weeks ago I attended a seminar on youth evangelism conducted by the Mumbai archdiocese. It was led by a dynamic young deacon named Ivan Fernandes who really impressed me with his zeal and vision, as well as his willingness to work together with others for the glory of God. In the opening presentation, they showed a video titled “The Parable of the Lifesaving Station”, and although it was a simple one, it had a powerful message.
Along a certain sea coast, there was a life-saving station. When a ship was in distress, members of the life-saving station would go out into the storm to try to rescue the people on board. They saved countless lives that would otherwise have been lost. This station grew, but as time went by, some were unhappy that the building was poor and crudely equipped, so they began to make it more comfortable, adding modern equipment and better amenities.
Soon it became a place that people wanted to be a part of, and many joined. But then they began to get upset that the people who were being saved were dirty, and so had a shower built outside so they could clean themselves up before they could enter. It wasn’t too long before most of the members wanted to stop the life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the “club”. Despite a few protests, their voice held sway.
The dissenting people decided to start a new life saving station and succeeded in saving many lives. However, in a little while, they too became an exclusive club like the first. History continued to repeat itself, over and over again. The video ended with these chilling words: If you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.
So, what kind of life saving station do you belong to?