We were late getting to the Araneta Coliseum last week, and barely made it into our convergence service. For those of you not from Manila this is when all 10 of our VCF-Manila congregations come together for one service several times a year. The Araneta can only hold 14,500 of our members, and my family and I had to sit up in the stratosphere.
During worship and communion I was struck, not simply by the number of people that were there, but by the fact that Jesus had suffered, died and paid for the sins of every single person there. The enormity of His sacrifice began to overtake my mind and emotions, and then something even deeper struck my soul… I will get back to this shortly.
One of my favorite movies of last year was The Guardian which portrayed an aging yet successful US coastguard rescuer. After a rescue tragedy he changed gears and began to teach students at the elite Coast Guard rescue school. Well, as usual the young trainees were always trying to break their teacher’s, Ben’s, records, and they were always wondering, “How many saves does this guy have, 200-300?”
One guy in particular, Jake, was always dogging his teacher about his records until the day they were actually doing real life-or-death rescues together in Alaska. Here is how the dialog went:
Jake Fischer: What's your number?
Ben Randall: [On his "number"] It's 22.
Jake Fischer: Well that's not... bad... It's not 200 but...
Ben Randall: 22 is the number of people that I've lost. It's the only number that I've kept track of.
This is the deeper thing that struck me at our meeting. Yes, Jesus had saved each and every one of those people in that coliseum. It was wonderful to see, and of course I know that there were visitors there as well. Yet, the group that I was counting, the saved, was eclipsed by the group that I was not counting, the lost. The movie analogy that I used is not perfect in that Ben had saved more than he had lost, but if we had reached 90% of the lost in this world I would hope to still focus on those not yet reached. Until that day let’s not be satisfied. To my friends in Manila just keep doing what you are doing.
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10