2 11 2013


They say you can’t judge a book by its cover although I have learned that the best selling literary works of today are purchased not for their content but because they have an attractive jacket! Scary thought! Although I know many people who act like Christians on the outside but that doesn’t necessarily make them believers in the heart. Perhaps they are just very good actors and actresses! We are not always what we seem. We must be willing to do some digging if we are ever going to discover if there is a true depth of treasure in another’s soul. The price tag alone is never enough to declare the worth of the product. What many have dismissed as garbage as for me turned out to be pure gold. What do we really know about defining and determining value?

One of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, offers some fascinating food for thought in his book, “Searching For God Knows What.” In a chapter entitled, “Lifeboat Theory,” Miller starts out by recalling an assignment that he was given back in grade school that I also remember having been appointed by my Social Studies Teacher.  It was wrapped up in a subject that what was called “Values Clarification.” The challenge given to us ten year old kids went something like this: “A major ocean liner left the coast of England two days ago.  The ship is on its way to New York.  There is an international passenger list and the majority of the people have just entered the dining room for lunch.  All of a sudden there is a major explosion in the engine room.  Life boats are released and the passengers start to board them.  The ship is slowly sinking and there remains only one more lifeboat.  It holds six people, but there are ten people on deck.  Here is the list of ten people:

  1. An      African-American activist who also is second-year medical student…
  2. A      54 year old Rabbi…
  3. A      beautiful woman who is a Swedish bio-chemist…
  4. A      famous Hollywood actress-singer-dancer…
  5. An      Arab diplomat…
  6. A      31 year old Japanese accountant-
  7. And      his 30 year old wife who is also six months pregnant…
  8. A      Brazilian athlete-all sports superstar…
  9. A      42 year old Hispanic poet…
  10. A      United States White Male CIA agent with interpreting skills…

The task for your group is to decide which six people will board the last lifeboat and which four will go down and drown with the ship. You will have ten minutes to decide.  Which four will you eliminate?  Why?”
How do we as human beings go about making such decisions? How do we determine whose life matters anyway? What do we do as people to avoid being those who are deemed unimportant? Think about it! In so many ways all of us act intentionally through various means and via a whole host of creative avenues to do whatever it takes to assure that we would be somebody who would be given a seat in the Lifeboat! I don’t want to be one of those who wouldn’t get in!

God made everybody and God loves us all but when that relationship between us was disturbed by the fall of humanity and our sin separated us from the Lord of all- we began looking for love in all the wrong places! We began trying to find our identity in the eyes of those around us rather than in the grace and mercy of our Almighty God. Donald Miller writes, “And so now it feels as if we live on a planet where there is just a little water left, poisoned as it already is, and we are all trying to get our hands on it so that we can drink it just to stay alive. What we really need is God. What we really need is Somebody who loves us so much that we don’t have to worry about death, or thinning hair, or other drivers pulling out in front of us, or whether people are rich or poor, good looking or ugly, or about whether we feel lonely or have the right outfit and date for the dance.”

It is only the unconditional love of God within us that will give us the freedom to love others purely with no motives for selfish gain! Only God can help us see all men as equals so that our relationships with one another can be sincere and genuine. Do I only like those who like me? Am I only open to a connection with those that I already know I have much in common with? If I am threatened by all those around me like I need to keep my eye on them or they are going to take my place in the Lifeboat- then how vulnerable and real will I ever be?

What if we really could focus and live in the freedom of God’s love fully. God loves everyone as if He was loving His son Jesus! He is no respecter of persons and no amount of good or bad deeds could get Him to love you more or less than He already does! If I lived in the security of God’s love I would have nothing to prove and nothing to lose and everything to gain! How much less stressful life would be if I knew that God already had a place for me in His Lifeboat! How much stronger our faith would be?

So rescue me dear Lord from our own Lifeboats because they leak up a storm without You! Jesus has a whole different way of declaring valuables! Those this world has defined as worthless, Jesus died for! This life isn’t about winning and losing and my faith has nothing to do with who gets in a Lifeboat! It is about you and I being the men and women that God created us to be and finding our home within a relationship with Him! I am not in competition with you or you with me. The sooner we see that, the sooner we will understand that Jesus didn’t even need Lifeboats! He walked on water!     



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