This story gripped me. Immediately the verse John 15: 13 came to mind, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And these people weren’t even friends. Likely, he had never met any of them until that day. Here is a short account of what happened:
It has been 100 years since Titanic, the greatest ship of its time, sank on its maiden voyage, killing more than 1,500 passengers. The “unsinkable ship” had done just that. One of the supreme stories of the Titanic involves a heroic pastor and his passion to save lives and souls.
When pastor John Harper and six year old daughter Nana boarded the Titanic it was for the privilege of preaching at one of the greatest churches in America, Moody Church in Chicago, named for its famous founder Dwight L. Moody. This church was to meet their next pastor, as Harper planned to accept their invitation. Harper had led two churches in Glasgow and London.
When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Harper successfully led his daughter to a lifeboat. Being a widower he may have been allowed to join her but instead forsook his own
rescue, choosing to provide the masses with one more chance to know Christ. Harper ran person to person, passionately telling others about Christ.
As the water began to submerge the “unsinkable” ship, Harper was heard shouting, “women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats.” Rebuffed by a certain man at the offer of salvation Harper gave him his own life vest, saying, “you need this more than I do.” Up until the last moment on the ship Harper pleaded with people to give their lives to Jesus.
For us, 100 years after the Titanic, may we be as zealous as Harper was with every opportunity to share Christ with the perishing.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.
Here is the story behind the story just a few days ago in Glasgow.
(excerpted from Baptist Press by Douglas W. Mize, April 13, 2012)
(Rescue the Perishing by Fanny Crosby, 1869)