A few years ago while watching late-night TV, I happened to see the tail end of a documentary about the collapse of the St. Francis dam in California back in the 1920’s. To this day, in terms of lives lost, it ranks second only to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as the worst catastrophe in California history.
The dam burst at three minutes before midnight and the wall of water began its relentless, destructive surge down the canyon valley toward the Pacific Ocean, 54 miles away. There were at least a half dozen towns directly in the path that the water ended up taking. With a torrent of water that began at a height greater than 150 feet, moving at speeds up to 18 miles per hour, and eventually expanding to 2 miles in width – anyone or anything in its path was marked for complete & certain destruction.
When the first official warning of the breech went out at 1:20 am, the water had already traveled nearly 18 miles and was bearing down on the first of the towns. In one of the villages, instead of fleeing, the telephone operators stayed at their posts and began frantically contacting as many people as possible in the surrounding communities. At the same time, a handful of state patrol officers on motorcycles raced ahead to the remaining towns in the water’s path with sirens wailing to warn the people, even stopping to pound on doors to awaken the homeowners. Through the efforts of this small group of telephone operators and police officers, hundreds of additional lives were saved from certain death.
This catastrophe, and the ensuing events, vividly illustrates mankind’s deadly predicament and the crucial role Christians should be playing in trying to save as many as possible. As unexpected & inexorable as a dam break, God’s judgment is coming upon rebellious & sinful humanity. We, as Christians, have heard the warnings of the impending doom and – like the phone operators & patrolmen – it’s up to us to warn as many people as we can so that they might be saved from certain destruction.
Once you realize – truly realize – that this is indeed the direness of the situation, only then can you understand how critical evangelism is. We’ve just spent several weeks in a row at Revolution discussing the “where, when & how” of evangelism, and have made it one of our core principles from the very beginning. We didn’t do this to try to get more people to show up at one of our worship services or because we’re “supposed to”. We’ve done this because we view evangelism as literally a matter of life & death – eternal life & eternal death – and we truly want to “awaken” as many people as possible before “the dam breaks”.
Worship – Grow – Serve