Wherefore He saith, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Ephesians 5:14
Eight-year-old Tyler Doohan was visiting some family members in Penfield, New York.
It was early on a Sunday morning when he noticed a fire in the single-wide trailer. The fire department was called and Doohan went through the place waking people up. He managed to rouse four adults and two little children.
The family gathered outside the trailer, helplessly watching the flames consume the small residence. That's when Doohan realized his grandfather, his best pal, wasn't among the ones who were in the small group. Everyone knew there was nothing to be done. Everyone, that is, but Doohan. He broke away from his aunt and rushed into the trailer to rouse his grandpa.
The firefighters found their bodies together on the bed. Doohan had been trying to rouse his pal when he was overcome by smoke.
Now this devotion could easily center on the words of the Savior who said, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Yes, to write such a devotion about the sacrifice of a young hero would be both easy and appropriate.
Instead, I would prefer to focus on the words of the fire chief who was there when Doohan died. He said, "The trailer had no working smoke detector ... with so many people in one small mobile home, one alarm could have easily woken everyone in time to escape."
I just checked. You can pick up a smoke detector for less than $10. Think about it. Ten dollars could have saved the life of that heroic little boy and his grandpa.
Now there are two things which need to be shared: first: make sure you have a working fire detector in your home. If you don't, get one, or two, or how many ever you need. We don't need an instant replay of Doohan's story at your house.
The second thing which needs to be said is this: right now there are hundreds of millions of souls who are headed for the fires of hell. More than that, the Savior, who gave His life to forgive and save all these souls, has entrusted us with distributing the alarm which the Holy Spirit will use to wake them from their sinful slumbers and get them to safety.
My friends, it is an unnecessary tragedy that Tyler Doohan and his grandpa died in that fire. Still, their blaze was temporary, and their hurting is over. That will not be the case for those who find themselves in the never-ending pain and torment of hell.
To help them escape I encourage you to distribute the Lord's "fire alarms" to the people around you. Give your mission dollars so a larger group may be warned. Let us do all we can to sound the alarm, which says that God loved the world enough to give His only Son for their salvation (see John 3:16).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I, along with the rest of Your church, may sound the Savior's alarm. May we who have been rescued by the Redeemer's sacrifice sound Your Word of warning to those who do not yet know Him. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries