Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Guardian

Last Sunday we looked at the movie The Guardian and attempted to draw out some biblical themes…there was one last clip that I purposely left out so that I could blog about it. Let me set up the scene. In this scene Ben Randall appears to be “passing the mantle” to his former student Jake Fisher, the new rescue swimmer asks about that mysterious number, the one spoken of in hushed voices at the Coast Guard elite training school. Is it 200 lives, or 300 or more that Ben has saved? What is his number?

Young Jake, has graduated and been assigned to Alaska with his Senior Chief Ben. They are having a discussion in a locker room and Jake asks the question he has wanted to know throughout the movie…

(Jake) "I've got to know; How many saves did you have?" After a long pause, Ben says "22".

"22!” Jake says in a somber moder.
“Not's not 200." Jake is taken aback; you can see the wheels turning as he imagines how easily that record will be broken.

Ben’s explanation shakes him back to reality
"22 losses" Ben says. “That’s the count of the ones I didn’t save. It's the only number I kept track of."

In the powerful silence that follows, the implications are clear: Ben never bothered to count the hundreds of souls he snatched from a watery death, but he carries the weight of every individual life that might have made it but didn’t.

So when people ask "Hey Gerry, how big is Soul Sanctuary?" my response will be "over 600,000". " I can see it now… “600,000! Impossible!" No church in Winnipeg is that big!” “Gerry, why are you so focused on numbers?”

But “over 600,000” is the population of the city I live in. It's the approximate number of people that are still ‘lost.’ It's the only number I as a pastor really need to keep track of. In other words, my ministry will not be shaped by the number of people in our church--the number of saves-- but by how many more GOD wants to reach. One hand at a time.....



SantanaRose said...

i think this is a very powerful scene in the movie. i personally love this film.
with regards to your comment at the end of your post..i think it is never a bad thing to keep your heart on those who are lost. but, also, not to forget those who are still new in Christ who need to be discipled. As long as your winning and growing are in the same heart beat, then I totally agree!

Karen said...

In the Christian realm, how does a person really ever know how many "saves" he or she has made? I'm not sure if the emotional weight that Ben carried from counting the number of peoples lives that were lost is a healthy way to go through life. I don't believe that is a burden we are called to bear. Maybe all that matters is that he did his job and tried his best. Counting numbers in either direction can prove to be a dangerous thing.

SoulPastor said...

Thanks for the posts above...I want to respond, but I will wait.

AS FOR ANONYMOUS....I will gladly answer your questions(even though they have nothing to do with this post) providing that you email me personally.

Misty B said...

Almost 14 years ago I lost my Mom. It wasn't until after I had been a Christian for quite a while that I started to struggle with the fact that I could not be sure of her salvation. In some ways my Mom's death was the beginning of my spiritual journey. I carried a lot of guilt. In the last year or so I have finally been able to let go of that. He made those choices. They were not mine.

So in a way I can hear what Karen is saying. It is not healthy to carry those burdens. Yet I also know I still have a burden in my heart for those around me who do not know the abundant life I do. My life is far from perfect, in fact it has been quite difficult even since I became a Christian. Yet I know meaning. I am never alone. I want that so much for some of my friends.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure if the emotional weight that Ben carried from counting the number of peoples lives that were lost is a healthy way to go through life".

Without having seen this movie and only going by this statement menitoned in the comment's to your recent blog; and what we are called to do in reaching our world.

Be assured, when couting the number of people who still don't know Christ, you will carry some degree of emotional weight, if you didn't then you wouldn't care. Last night, my husband and I went to view a home were the gentleman showing his home in the few moment's we were there and talking to him we didn't want to leave. I thought it was just me, but talking to my husband after he too felt a pull to reach out to this man, and emotions were running. As I was suppose to be viewing his home for my interest, I couldn't help but notice his sunk in eyes, book's scattered everywhere about his addiction (alchol) and self-help book's on this subject, yet his cupboard full of alchol and wine glasses lined up neatly.

You can just tell he wasn't ready to give up his home, cause he had been there a long time, but lost his wife. He didn't talk much about her, but his home felt so empty. Did she die? Did she leave him because of his addiction? I don't know if we are going to buy that home, but I do know last night my husband and I walked away, not done with this visit. I left broken. Why because of some emotional price that we carried last night - has stirred within us a desire to reach this soul. We are not perfect, but I agree one hand at a time. We cannot be insensative to the world around us and to carry a little burden to the lost world around us is nothing compared to the people who are dying emotionally, physically, spiritually and for that reason, I don't mind carry a little burden around if it mean's winning a soul to Christ.

But consider it Joy when you Share in his pain, for we'll share in the Glory to come.

karen said...

I'm not sure that anonymous understood my comment. If you feel compelled to reach out to this man consider it doing your "job" as a Christian. I commend you. If this man then chooses to reject the abundant life that is offered to him through Jesus Christ you are not expected by God to carry the burden of his choice. Our job is to make Christ known to those around us, we have no power to "save" anyone. Only through the Holy Spirits enabling is a person brought to Christ. So do your job and then leave the rest with God.

"But consider it Joy when you Share in his pain, for we'll share in the Glory to come."

-is this your own paraphrased version? The bible verse I'm familiar with is different.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2&3

Anonymous said...

"But consider it Joy when you Share in his pain, for we'll share in the Glory to come", is actually out of a book I've been reading. Don't know if it is a verse in the Bible, wasn't looking up scripture when I posted my comment.

Anyways. I am sorry, if I've misunderstood you.

I just feel the problem sometimes with just doing our "job" as a Christian is just not enough because we only want to complete it at what feel's comfortable for us. We leave it at a point that feel's comfortable, and forget that many unsaved still need us as Christians, by the enabling of the Holy Spirit; I agree to continue to press into these people's lives.

I am not out to save anyone by my own power/strength rest assured; or take credit for what God does in people's lives, that's not how I would want to come across and don't need commend.

Sometimes it's the attitude of some believer's.."well I tried everything, now it's just up to God" attidude. Did we/or I try everything? Did we intervene when intervention was needed? Not sure about this..did I just do "my job" as a chrisitian, or am I listening to the job God has called me to do?

If I've done my job and then have left the rest to God..then this question stirs within me, why aren't our churches/community packed with people who are lost?

SantanaRose said...

you know - i have been thinking about this more..and really if there were two things i hope that God would make me really passionate would be for the lost and for His glory. I think that if my heart was really broken even a fraction of how much God's is broken for them, if I could really see their condition and really understand what life apart from Him would be, I would not be able to think about anything else. I think if I was consumed with how many more people are perishing all around life would change drastically..
if everyone was this consumed...i think the world would change too.

kenny said...

I loved this movie...and loved that scene. I also loved Schindlers list...and loved the end of that movie, when he realized he could have saved more souls if only...!

Knowing that as a Christian, the impartation of the Holy spirit lives within me, which means, I begin to see the world differently. I will feel burdened for the lost, the helpless, the broken, the prostitues, the drug dealers, the babies that are killed through abortion. It is a part of reaching out. Yes, I believe that we cannot carry that burden, but I believe that God gives us the compassion that he has for the lost. Every lost soul is still a child of God, they just don't know it yet. They were all known by God, before they were even conceived.

Sure, we want to reach the lost, but I think more and more, I am reminded that through my acts of obediance, to God, to do what He is telling me to do by looking after widows (single parents) orphans, feed the poor, help heal the brokenhearted and to set captives me the opportunity to partner with God, so that He can speak to the person through the actions that God asks me to do.

So it isn't much of a burden, rather than a life choice to care. Not expecting the person to believe in God...rather, I do my part, God speaks!

I think of how people cared for me when I wasn't a believer, and then how God spoke clearly to my heart.

SantanaRose said...

gerry - you never told us what you thought about this??

SoulPastor said...

What am I to say?