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  • Shawn Thornton

Rescuing Others

Saturday - March 27th

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 5:13-20


Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way

will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:20

During World War II, future President John F. Kennedy commanded a patrol torpedo boat in the South Pacific. On August 2, 1943, a Japanese destroyer rammed the boat Kennedy commanded. Kennedy swam more than three miles to the nearest island, towing an injured crew mate by holding the straps of the crewman’s life jacket in his teeth.

According to Rob Brown of the British Broadcasting Company, Kennedy and the injured crew mate arrived at a small unoccupied island exhausted but with their remaining crew. With only coconuts for food and fresh liquid, the men stayed on the island for two days. Since they determined rescue from the tiny uncharted island was unlikely, they swam to another island, ending up on a bigger but still uninhabited island.

While searching for food and water on August 5, Kennedy and a crew member saw two Solomon Islanders in a canoe. Believing the two Americans were Japanese, the islanders paddled away. As they did, they actually came across the rest of Kennedy's crew and helped rescue all of the American seamen.

Some of the American men cried when the pair found them, one of the islanders recalled. Others shook their hands. "When Kennedy saw us… he ran and embraced us." After the crew was rescued, Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart.

Rescue by the men from the Solomon Islands changed the trajectory of what could have happened that April of 1943. They rescued the future president and his crew! You can imagine the gratitude Kennedy and his companions had for what the islanders had done. Rescue was the greatest gift anyone could have received in that situation.

James talks about a spiritual rescue that happens when we allow God to use us to bring others to Jesus. We are a part of critical action. Action to which the the old hymn writer challenged us: "Rescue the Perishing." Part of being a Christian is being on mission to rescue others from their waywardness.

"Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins" (James 5:20). This text of Scripture challenges us to rescue sinners regularly and intentionally. How do we do that?

First, we help them see their sin (turn from the error of their way. Second, we help them come to Jesus and find forgiveness. As they come to Christ, the curse and punishment of eternal death (separation from God forever in Hell) are removed. They are given new life in Jesus. The forgiveness they are granted through the finished work on the cross covers all of their sins.

We may not be a part of some heroic rescue at sea, but we are called to be critical rescuers spiritually. God expects His children to be in the rescue business as a way of life. We share the hope and show the love of Jesus to others. Our aim is that they would turn from their sin to Him!

As you live and love like Jesus, do you see yourself as a rescuer of sinners? You should. That is the calling of all of those who know Jesus as Savior!

We can be a part of the rescue God offers sinners if we let Him use us as He sees fit!


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