"To Help a Friend"
July 26, 2015
When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
Angus McGillivray was a strong, strapping Scotsman. He was also a survivor.
Being a survivor was important because McGillivray was living in a World War II Japanese prisoner of war camp. "Living" might be too kind a word for his situation. This camp was a survival of the fittest kind of place. Any façade of civilization or compassion the inmates had once possessed had long since been removed.
As I said, McGillivray was a survivor. The only problem was he didn't survive. Word spread around the camp that the Scotsman was gone and that the Japanese weren't at fault.
Eventually, those around McGillivray managed to figure things out. Scottish soldiers who came from the same village felt responsible for each other. "Looking out for his buddy" was what McGillivray had been doing for a wounded, childhood pal. Everyone knew there was no hope for the man, but McGillivray felt he had to try.
That's why, when his friend's blanket was stolen, McGillivray "found" him another, by giving the sick man his own. He shared his meager rations as well. His sacrifice paid off. His friend began to mend; his body started to heal. That's when McGillivray died. "Exhaustion and starvation" was the verdict of the doctors.
But everybody knew the doctors were wrong. The soldiers knew McGillivray had died because he had done everything -- given everything -- to save his friend's life.
You know, I think a person could live to a ripe old age without ever having a friend like McGillivray.
Indeed, many people, maybe even some of you reading this Daily Devotion, think you have no such friend. But you do. Now, when I say that you have such a friend most of you may start thumbing through your mental card file of acquaintances and contacts. If you are blessed, you may find a friend or two like that. But I'm not talking about just any, old someone. I'm talking about the Individual who is the greatest love you and this world will ever know. I'm talking about Someone who lived for you and died for you.
I'm speaking of Jesus, God's Son, who came to this world to redeem humanity. Of course, when I say that, the world mutters, "Oh, Him," and Christians say, "I knew that already."
I'm sure you did. But did you ever think of Jesus in terms of Angus McGillivray?
We were Jesus' dying friends. So we might be saved, Jesus, like McGillivray, made sacrifices. Indeed, He put everything He had, everything He was, into that job of rescuing us from humankind's enemies. Wealth, family, a long future -- these things, and many more -- were daily sacrificed as Jesus went about the business of saving us. Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross proves the depth of His commitment, the quality of His love. His resurrection on the third day is proof that He has been successful.
Indeed, our peace of mind and faith in Him is evidence that Jesus has rescued us from our oppressors.
You know, when those men in McGillivray's camp thought about what he had done, they changed. They started acting more like the Scotsman, and the camp was transformed as they learned to watch out for each other. No one told them to do this.
They just did it.
Just as we who have been saved ought to care for others -- not because we have to, but because we want to.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, every day of Jesus' life was a day committed to saving me. I give thanks for His work of redemption and the Holy Spirit's call to faith. May I show my appreciation by caring for others. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries