When I heard the title of this new series of sermons, I couldn’t help but remember a movie preview I saw recently. This new movie (coming out November 13) is called “The 33,” and it’s the story of thirty-three miners in Chile who were trapped when the mine they were working in experienced an explosion, sending the men running for a “safe area” far below ground. The rescue, based on a true story, is truly miraculous.
God’s search for us is every bit as miraculous as the search for the thirty-three miners, isn’t it? Unlike the engineers in the miner’s story, however, God knows exactly where we can be found. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me… the old hymn tells us. But God won’t violate the free will he’s given us. He won’t force us to come to the “Great Banquet Feast” (Luke 14:15-24). Based on this parable, Pastor Sean explained on Sunday that God is the host of the banquet, the banquet itself is the Kingdom of God, the invited guests are the Jews, and all others, who the host sends his servant out to find, are Gentiles.
More than anything, the families of those miners who were trapped two hundred stories below the surface of the earth wanted them to be found and rescued. They stood at the gates to the mine, keeping vigil. They prayed. They gathered together to support one another. And yes, they got angry at those who didn’t seem to be doing enough to rescue the men. The ordeal lasted sixty-nine days! What compelled them? Love. Simply love, a force so strong it wouldn’t give up! It compelled them to weep and wait and pray and cry out for justice. In truth, the only hope of rescue they had, ultimately, was a merciful God. But people had a part to play, too; a huge part. An international team of people worked on the rescue, in fact.
Who do you know who needs to be rescued? Are they trapped in sin, bound up by lies and half-truths or buried by explosive situations they can’t control? Do you love them? Whole-heartedly, passionately, compassionately love them? “There is still room,” the servant tells the master (Luke 14:22) after he has already been out on the roads and country lanes to bring in guests for the banquet. And it’s this phrase that ushers in hope in my heart. We don’t know when the preparations for the feast will be complete, do we? But until that time, let’s do everything we can to show our “miners” how much we care. The world is watching. Let’s bring them out alive!
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