The other day, as part of our Professional Development, all staff from my school completed First Aid training. Whilst the course itself was quite intense, it was valuable to refresh ourselves of what to do should we encounter an emergency situation, particularly if it were to involve students to which we owe a duty of care.
Essentially the purpose of First Aid is to “preserve life” until medical assistance can be sought. Whilst we hope we never end up in a situation where we have to use CPR, or have to figure out what injury to attend to first, the course is there to prepare our minds for the possibility of such a situation occurring.
As I reflected upon the training we received, I started to think about how Christ trains us to save lives for eternity. The Bible states it plainly many times, that we are called to be the light of the world and spread the good news in order that others may come to follow Jesus.
The following verses are to do with saving the lives of others and/or remind us also that we have been saved by God’s grace.
James 5:19-20 (NIV):
19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Romans 11:13-15 (NLT):
14 for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. 15 For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead!
Titus 3:5 (New Living Translation):
5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Romans 10:13 (NKJV):
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
There are many more verses I could draw upon, however, these verses speak clearly about God’s desire for us to be saved and then help save others by bringing them to Him. Whilst some people may have a ‘life or death’ soul-saving experience, others may come to be saved through a smaller incident that may not seem as urgent, but left unattended would lead them to a place of Spiritual ill-health.
The idea of First Aid training, is to equip you with the skills necessary to assist those to whom you owe a duty of care (particularly in your workplace) should they injure themselves. Out in public, if you see someone in trouble and choose to assist them, you have made a choice to take up that duty of care and must remain with them until medical assistance arrives. Whilst the patient may refuse the assistance, you may still do all you can to convince them that their situation may be life or death and that you have been trained to help them.
If we consider where we are now, in our workplace and out and about in the world, who is it that we owe that spiritual duty of care to? Who is it that may be about to drown in their pool of depression? Who is it that may be ignoring their spiritual injuries and refusing to seek help? Who is it that may require immediate intervention in order to bring them to life in Christ… eternal life?
Arthur Stace demonstrated a duty of care to the people of Sydney, Australia, by spending 35 years writing the word ‘Eternity’ on the streets of the city, over half a million times. An illiterate former soldier who had been a thief and alcoholic, he came to Christ and spent the rest of his days writing the word Eternity in perfect copperplate handwriting. Having been saved himself, he followed Christ’s instruction to save others.
Last year, I included this story in my HSIE/History program for Kindergarten. We looked at the history of Arthur Stace and how the word ‘Eternity’ was somewhat of a mystery to the locals until the identity of the author was revealed in the newspaper. We watched the New Year’s fireworks from the year 2000 in Sydney Harbour and saw the word appear on Sydney Harbour Bridge as the new year was welcomed in. After reflecting on the story, I took the class outside to experiment with copying the word onto the concrete in chalk, thus leaving a special message for the rest of the school. When we came back to class, we then created our own ‘Eternity’ artworks to be displayed in the classroom. This was quite a significant lesson and despite their youth, I felt Kindergarten were touched by the story and its significance for us, not only as Australians, but as believers in Christ.
First Aid operates best when we stay up-to-date with our training and bring our minds back to all we have learned. It becomes useless if we forget the life-saving skills we have been taught throughout the course. It is the same with God’s Word. If we do not keep coming back to it, and remind ourselves of the importance of His Word as a light and guide for us, we cannot expect to save anyone’s life for eternity. Whilst some may be called to perform Spiritual CPR through evangelism, others may be called to stand back and pray for the lives of others. We each have our gifts for a particular time and place, and God has us in that place for specific people. He has appointed our duty of care and we cannot neglect those who are in need.
Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV) says,
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
So the question is this: who is it that you need to save for eternity?