The Parable of the Lifesaving Station
On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.
Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it
became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in
the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station
and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its
work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little
lifesaving station grew.
Some of the new members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that
the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a
more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of
those saved from the sea.
They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture
in an enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular
gathering place for its members, and they redecorated it beautifully
and furnished it as a sort of club.
Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on
lifesaving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.
The mission of lifesaving was still given lip-service but most were
too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the
lifesaving activities personally.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the
hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned
They were dirty and sick, some had skin of a different color, some
spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was
considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a
shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could
be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most
of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as
being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal pattern of the club.
But some members insisted that lifesaving was their primary purpose
and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station.
But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to
save the life of all various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in
those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the
coast. They did.
As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes
that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet
another lifesaving station was founded.
If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive
clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those
waters, but now most of the people drown!
— Taken from Personal Evangelism 101, by Brent Hunter