Making the Most of Life: Introduction

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Introduction

Toward afternoon’s end last Friday, a little girl, only three and a
half years old, romping with playmates in a vacant field adjoining her
home, dropped suddenly from sight. Her companions, one of them her
own sister, finding she had fallen behind in their race, retraced their
course and discovered the trap into which the younger sister had
stumbled–an abandoned water-well casing. From the depths of the
well, they could hear the cries of the younger sister.

Only minutes elapsed before rescuers and rescue equipment began
assembling around the little girl’s narrow prison, deep down in the
earth. The city’s fire, police, and other departments and the Red Cross
were speedily supplemented by officers and apparatus from
surrounding cities.

Then came the giant machines, well-drilling rigs, excavators,
bulldozers, manned by operators with the “know how,” indispensable
men; men who could bring the little girl back to her mother and father.
If technical experience and skill, joined to high purpose, matched with
unstinted effort, backed by every conceivable and applicable device of
mechanics and science, spurning material reward could do it, it would
be done. Such was the spirit within our city and its surrounding
communities, on the march to save—regardless of cost, with no thought
of compensation—the life of that little girl. (San Marino Tribune
Editorial, April 14, 1949).

As time slipped by steadily, man and machines worked furiously,
yet gently, drilling an adjoining shaft where they could cut through the
old well-casing to save the little girl. While she was kept alive with
piped-in air, grown men with families and responsibilities risked their
lives, time after time, inching their way down past the 93-foot level.
The prayers of the nation were focused on that vacant lot and its
precious contents. From every state, offers of help poured in. Although
the minutes became hours, and day became night and then day again,
the rescue workers could not and would not stop. Late in the afternoon
of the second day, the rescuers began to realize that no sound could be
heard from the adjoining well.

At 8:53 p.m., over fifty hours after this little girl had fallen into the
abandoned well, her doctor announced that she was dead.
Disappointment flooded over the faces of the thousands who had
gathered nearby to pray. Men and women, too exhausted to cry, knew
they had done the right thing. They had given selflessly of their time
and every ounce of energy they could muster to save this little girl.
Kathy Fiscus would not be forgotten. One week later, Easter was
celebrated with a fresh understanding of the meaning of life and death.

God’s Rescue Plan
My dear friend, God sent His Son and you and me on a rescue
mission that far exceeds the drama of what happened that Palm Sunday
weekend in San Marino, California. The message He has given us and
the spiritual gifts He has provided can reach our friends to rescue them
from an eternal hell.

This book is about your sharing your life in a new way, different
perhaps from what you have ever done, with those near to you. Your
neighbors, work acquaintances, relatives and others are like this little
girl—desperately trapped, in a grip stronger than steel, unable to release
themselves. But God has made possible their rescue through you. You
are His representative, His LIFE-line to these friends.

As you read this book, put yourself today in the picture of those
who, years ago, gave of themselves, attempting to rescue a little girl. In
place of her name, write down those of your neighbors and friends .
Their need is even more urgent because the outcome is forever. Herein,
you will read from the example set on earth’s stage by Jesus Christ and
His chosen followers. Remember that you, too, have been chosen and
blessed in a special way.

The substance of this introduction is about death and resurrection.
The tragedy of Palm Sunday gave way to the triumph of Easter the
following week. As you think of your friends, remember that their
situation is not hopeless.

The Apostle Paul declared clearly why you and I can have
confidence that we, too, will be doing the right thing: “For Christ’s
love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and
therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no
longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was
raised again” (II Corinthians 5:14, 15). Yes, Jesus died for us that we
might live for Him.

Do you have a choice? Do I? I believe not. For this book is also
about vision. It is about opening the door for you to become what God
intended. The life of the Christian should be full of drama, reconciling
humankind with God and with each other.

This is written to encourage you to become a full partner in the
work of Jesus Christ on earth—His Kingdom work. In short, it means
making the most of life. The person with vision perceives the potential
of the future—the promise of a new dimension—and takes action.

Jesus’ Promise
Jesus was such a Man. When He selected twelve men to be His
disciples, when He spoke to the woman of Samaria, when He healed
the blind man at the Temple, He saw their potential. He knew there was
more than was visible on the surface, and much more than in the past.
He is ever the Man of the future.

He gave the promise of the Spirit of God to be with us—to
liberate us from the past, genetic as well as practice. His death and
resurrection created the eternal equation to forever free humanity from
the steel casing of sin and self. A long with His promise to release us
from condemnation, He revealed that the Holy Spirit would impart to
every believer a spiritual gift. These gifts were for special use, designed
to bring strength to others and glory to God the Father.

The exercise of these gifts was to take place in a “body” called the
Body of Christ, the church. As the Apostle Paul described it, “And he
is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the
firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the
supremacy . . .” (Colos sians 1:18-20).

In His prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “As you sent me into the
world, I have sent them into the world ” (John 17:18). He knew He was
shortly to leave. Nevertheless, He had the greatest confidence in “His
body,” the church, that it would carry forward what He had begun. As
He looked to future generations, He could see us here in the opening of
a new millennium. He could see the reawakening to what His church is
to be. You, too, have felt the st irring of God’s Spirit in you own soul. He
has started a fire burning within you to be far more than you have
previously experienced in your life. There must be more and, yes, there
is more! God has provided the gifts and the resources for every
believer to participate in the greatest harvest of this age.

I want to challenge you to put aside all the failed plans of the past
and step into the vision for His church. Pray with Paul what he wrote to
the Ephesian church: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably
more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work
within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout
all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20, 21). He
wants to see you built up as you participate with others in His work.
You will see a way to realize your vision as a partner with Christ.
Paul wrote that in the process of helping others, “. . . the body of Christ
(that’s us) will be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith and in
the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining in the
whole measure of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12, 13). You will
not be a passive spectator. You will be part of God’s great rescue
operation for mankind.

What is it that persuades us to be part of God’s Kingdom work? In
his letter to the Corinthian Christians the Apostle Paul said it most
clearly: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that
one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those
who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for
them and was raised again.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were
making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be
reconciled to God.” (II Corinthians 5:1 4, 15, 20). There is nothing
more we can add.