After the sinking of the Titanic on a freezing morning in 1912, there were 18 lifeboats floating near the horrible scene.
In several of these boats, people considered going back to rescue others still in the water. But fear reigned – fear of being capsized by frantic swimmers.
In some cases, crew members proposed going back, but the passengers strenuously objected. In others, the passengers proposed returning, but crew members refused, despite the fact that many lifeboats carried less than half their capacity.
Fifth Officer Lowe, in lifeboat 14, transferred his passengers into a secure ring of boats, then headed back to the scene. The search, though diligent, proved frustrating. It took a long time to locate the source of the cries from the frigid water. In the end, only four were rescued, and one died within an hour. Still, one boat went back – lifeboat 14.
In Romans 9:23, Paul spoke of “the vessels of mercy.”
A Muslim never prays without washing his hands. In the villages, travelers need water supplied to them, so the villagers provide small vessels of water for the traveler to use called vessels of mercy, to help others.
In the ancient fable of Androcles and the Lion, Androcles is a Roman slave who runs away and encounters a lion with a thorn in his paw. Risking his life, Androcles’ merciful heart causes him to remove the thorn from the lion’s paw, and is befriended by the lion. Later, Androcles is captured. As his punishment, he must face a hungry lion in the Roman Coliseum. Fortunately, it was the lion he’d helped, and Androcles enjoyed mercy from the lion.
Matthew Henry rightly pointed out, “those who show mercy may expect to receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
Pastor David Arnold
Gulf Coast Worship Center
© 2012 Rev. David Arnold Ministries, All rights reserved.