(Jesus said) "Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
Dr. Henry Heimlich is almost as old as dirt. To be more precise, Dr. Henry Heimlich is 96 years old.
During his life Dr. Heimlich has had the opportunity to see many things, do many things, and change the lives of many. The truth is Dr. Heimlich has changed tens of thousands of lives because he developed a method that brought relief (and air) to people who were choking.
Yup, this story deals with the Henry Heimlich who in the 1970s developed the procedure that can save the life of a man or woman who is choking. Over the last one-third century, Dr. Heimlich has frequently demonstrated the maneuver, which bears his name.
But, Dr. Heimlich never had occasion to use his maneuver on a person who was actually choking. That is until a few weeks ago. On a Monday night he was in the dining room at the Deupree House in Cincinnati. It was there that Dr. Heimlich noticed the woman sitting next to him was turning pink. She was turning colors because she was choking.
Cool and calm, the doctor stepped up behind the lady, performed his maneuver, and freed a hunk of hamburger.
The lady -- grateful 87-year-old Patty Ris -- sent Heimlich a thank-you note which said, "God put me in this seat next to you."
And Dr. Heimlich, what did he feel? He said this: "When I used it, and she recovered quickly," he said, "it made me appreciate how wonderful it has been to be able to save all those lives."
I imagine Jesus would agree with the good doctor. It is a wonderful thing to save lives.
Of course, there are considerable differences between Dr. Heimlich's saving lives and the Redeemer saving lives. For example,
* When someone uses Dr. Heimlich's maneuver to save a life, it doesn't cost anybody anything. For the Lord to save the lives of sinners it was necessary that Jesus substitute Himself and offer up His life for theirs.
* As soon as Dr. Heimlich shared his plan and purpose to rescue those who were choking, he received the world's admiration and accolades. When Jesus said He had come to save sinners, the world hated, persecuted, and murdered Him.
* Most importantly, those whom the Heimlich maneuver saves will someday die. Those who are saved by Jesus will find the grave has been conquered -- and they will live forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, may I always be thankful for the sacrifice You made that saves me. May I do all I can to point others to the joy which comes from knowing that in Jesus our sins are forgiven and eternal life has become our final destiny. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries