After a few of the usual
Sunday evening hymns, the Church's pastor slowly stood up, walked
over to the pulpit and before he gave his sermon for the evening,
briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the church that evening.
In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest
minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted
him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever
he felt would be appropriate for the service. With that an elderly
man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.
"A father, his son and a friend of his son were sailing off
the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching
storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were
so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor,
he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into
the ocean as the boat capsized."
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two
teenagers who were for the first time since the service began, looking
somewhat interested in his story. The aged minister continued with
"Grabbing the rescue line, the father had to make the most
excruciating decision of his life: to which boy he would throw the
other end of the life line. He only had seconds to make the decision.
The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that
his son's friend was not. Agony of his decision could not be matched
by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, "I love
you, son!". He threw out the lifeline to his son's friend.
By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized
boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the
black of night. His body was never recovered.
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the
pew anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old
minister's mouth."The father," he continued, "knew
his son would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear
the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without
Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son's friend.
How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.
Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could
be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take
a hold of the lifeline He is throwing out to you in this service."
With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as
silence filled the room.
The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief
sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded
to the appeal.
Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at
the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely
stated one of the boys,"but I don't think it is very realistic
for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other
boy would become a Christian."
"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied
glancing down at his worn bible. A big smile broadened his narrow
face. He once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure
isn't very realistic is it? But I'm standing here today to tell
you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must havebeen like
for God to give up His Son for me. You see-I was that father and
your pastor is my son's friend."