My daughter was 3 and a half when I received a call from a friend who served with the River Valley Search and Rescue. In an effort to recruit new volunteers they were looking for a new image for their campaign. With photography being one of my friends many talents, he had an idea for a photo shoot and was calling to see if my daughter and I would be interested in being part of it. My concern was with my daughter but even at her young age, she was happy to help. Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the shoot location where wardrobe and make up awaited us. After sharing his vision for the picture, we were prepped and the camera stated flashing.
There were a few reasons he had come to us as candidates for the picture. The first being that small children love to explore and can often get lost. With a young daughter it was a great idea to have a picture of a child being rescued. The second, humorous reason looking back on it now, was that the rescuer was going to be wearing one of their shirts. They needed someone with a wide enough back for their logo to be clear and fully visible. Luckily for my friend, I had been weightlifting for several years at that point and had the back he needed. After reviewing the pictures taken, a few were chosen for submission and remarkably, our picture was selected for their great cause.
During a recent conversation with another friend of mine I was again reminded of the importance of search and rescue. He was calling to inform me that he was getting back involved with an organization he had worked with in the past; Search and Rescue Aircrew. He would be the first to admit that the struggles of his younger years disqualified him for service at that time. But, with our savior Jesus being the master of restoration, he was renewed and far more improved than he ever was on his own. This transformation led to him being welcomed back to serve in this vital area.
As he relayed the news of this old but new opportunity, I could hear the passion in his voice as the work he was doing had so many parallels to the work he was doing in service to our Savior. You see, my friend is an evangelist, what I hope all Christians would be, and the work of an evangelist is all about search and rescue. As Christians, we are called to be ready, mindful and courageous in stepping into of those opportunities to minister the gospel. Now my friend again had the opportunity to search out the physically lost while ministering to their spiritual needs.
In speaking to my friend, a fire had been lighten in side of me; inspiring this write up. There was one thing he said that has stuck with me as it was so true about those who encounter Christ. He stated that when searching for a person who has been lost, often the light of their rescuer is the first thing a lost person sees when they are found; a sentiment echoed by Jesus in the scriptures. Matthew 15 v 4 states the following regarding light and its source:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
As light carried on the helmet of a search and rescuer leads the way, so too we as Christians carry a light leading us to the lost.
In reading the scripture verse above I find the second line most interesting in that it gives perspective to the fact that we as believer should not live in such a way that this light would not be seen. Or worse, not recognized. Verses 15 of Matthew 5 expands on this by saying:
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”
Light has its purpose and it would not make sense to shine a light only to cover it up. We elevate the light in an effort to see its reach go everywhere and touch everyone.
For those who have been lost or in particular, have been in the dark for a period of time, light can be hard to see. Stories are told by those rescued of seeing light but not being sure of where it was coming from; that it was a struggle or even confusing as they sought to focus and identify its source. Thankfully as a Christian we don’t have this struggle. We know the source of our spiritual light and are able to point others to it. John 8 v 12 states:
“Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus is the light and in him, and with him in us, we have his light; the light of life. In a world so recognized for its darkness we are implored shine this light that is so desperately needed.
Coming back to what was said in Matthew 15, Jesus indicates that the way we shine this light is in how we live; that the way we live has the power to influence those around us in a way that has them giving glory to God. I love Peter’s insight on this as found in 1 Peter 3 v 16:
“keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander”
This would be a life well lived.
To close, I’ll let the friend who inspired this writing have the last words. “As a Search and Rescue Aircrew member, we give of ourselves as our motto says “THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE”. With a vision for the Christian side of this, I see that he tasks us out as men and women to help others find the life he has given us. He equips us with a spiritual GPS (Godly Positioning System) and green lights us to jump into the darkness; to shine His light upon the lost and escort them to the safety of God and his kingdom.
In a real Aircrew rescue we say “Hi there, I’m (Insert Name). A search and rescue specialist. I’m here to get you out. Grab on and know that I have you and won’t let you go. In the church we need to do the same. Boldly taking charge in saying, “Hi there, I’m (Insert Name) a believer in Jesus Christ. He paid for my sins and yours and has sent me to this time and place to help get you to safety. All you need do is say yes to him and grab on as he’s got you. His light is eternal and will lead you home.”
Thank you for your witness brother Jason.
God Bless all – Sean Bosse