“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” Matthew 7:12 (MSG) Couch potatoes sit around with no purpose in their lives. We were not designed to live this way. Truly, being a couch potato is quite similar to being in prison. Instead, we need to take the initiative to ask ourselves what we would want others to do for us, and then begin doing just that for other people! Why not encourage the discouraged? Visit the lonely? Bringing hope to the ones who are sick? Why not be a friend to the homeless? There is so much we can do to make a difference!
“If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.” John 12:26 (MSG) A couch potato would sit and say: “It’s a good idea, but it is not for me…”, and in so doing, they would miss the opportunity to love like Jesus. Let’s be proactive, reflecting Jesus in every aspect of our lives.
It was February, 1905, and the crew of Cape Lookout Station was in the midst of an influenza outbreak. Deep fogs and storms at sea do not care about how we are feeling, however; and despite the outbreak, waves relentlessly pounded the shoreline. Though deathly ill, the crew tried to do their duties. Keeper Gaskill went to the tower to see if anyone was in trouble. At first, he could see nothing in the thick fog; but a break suddenly appeared, briefly revealing the mast of a ship. When, seconds later, the fog again claimed any view of the ocean, it would have been easy for Keeper Gaskill to convince himself it had been nothing but his imagination; but this isn’t what he did. Instead, he called the other eight men from their sickbeds to join him in rescuing the ship and its crew.
Just imagine nine, deathly ill men hauling their lifeboats down to the shore, and then rowing for over four hours to reach the ship in destress. Somehow, they made it, but the Sarah Rawson had already lost much of her riggings. Her bowsprit, her foremast, her main topmast and her deckhouses had all crashed into the sea. Six members of her crew of seven were still alive, but the seventh had already been washed overboard, never to be seen again.
The waters around the doomed ship were littered with wreckage, and the rescue boats couldn’t get close enough to rescue the crew. The only thing they could do was to anchor their boat and wait out the night. They had to face the cold, the wind and the waves, and none of them were able to sleep, for they were continually in danger of capsizing. Somehow, however, coughing, sneezing and shivering with cold, the rescue team made it through to dawn. The sea began to calm then, but when they still could not reach the wreck, one of the rescue team donned a safety line and jumped into the cold, tumultuous ocean. He persisted in swimming through the waves until he finally reached the doomed ship, and then one by one, every one of the Sarah Rawson’s sailors were brought back to the rescue boat. They were soaked and nearly frozen, but they were alive.
The rescue crew was then able to bring the stranded sailors back to shore where they gave them dry clothing and warm food and drink; then all nine of them went back to their sick beds. After all, they were still in the midst of an influenza outbreak!
What is your take? Will you be a couch potato? Or will you make a difference in this world?
Oh, and once the influenza had passed, the nine rescuers each received gold lifesaving medals for their efforts.
(To access the entire “Majestic Mountain View” devotional series, please click here.)