"Watchers and Witnesses"
November 30, 2013
O God, from my youth You have taught me, and I still proclaim Your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:17-18
If ministers see people at their best, lawyers see them at their worst, and doctors see them as they really are. Then television reporters see them at their most tragic.
That's the way it was for a TV crew in Alabama. They were on the scene when a despondent, drunken, unemployed man set himself on fire. They were there because he had called them to let them know his intentions. It wasn't a false alarm because the fearful man did exactly as he had promised.
That was when the TV people had to decide what their roles would be. As newsmen, their job was to record the incident as impassive and disinterested observers. At the same time, they also felt they should be caring human beings and help the man by putting out the fire.
The TV camera recorded that these men remained newsmen for some 37 seconds. That was how long they taped this burning man. That is how long they did nothing to save him. Then after more than half a minute, one of the men decided to change his role and began to battle the flames.
By then it was nearly too late. Fortunately, a volunteer fireman arrived, and he extinguished the flames.
The world is filled with people who, like these newsmen, decide it's not their job to help a neighbor in distress. Truly the world is filled with spectators. Sadly, there is more than one follower of the Savior who can watch starvation, disease, pain, murder, and all of the other world's ills on the news while calmly eating supper.
Somewhere along the line, these hearts have become hardened and immune to the tragedies of the world. Somewhere along the line, they convinced themselves that caring wasn't their job or responsibility.
Thankfully, the Lord didn't become a disinterested observer to the plight of sinful humanity. No one could have criticized Him if He had stayed in His role as Judge and sent all of us to hell. Most certainly that was His right. But we are saved because, in spite of our sin, the Lord continued to care.
He cared enough to get involved.
He cared enough to send His Son into the world to be born in a Bethlehem stable and die on a Jerusalem cross. He cared enough to send His Son to take our place under the Law and offer forgiveness, salvation and eternal life to an entire world.
The wonderful truth that God still cares gives us an example that encourages us to do what we can to help those around us who are hurting. That's because the Lord would have all who have been helped by the Savior, share His love with others who also need that help.
That's because more than just being our Savior, the Lord wants to be their Savior, too.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, this sinful world has produced so much suffering that it is easy to be convinced we can make no impact or difference. As Your saved children, grant us the grace to do what we can to help. This I ask in the Name of the risen Redeemer who has done all to help and save me. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries