Evangelizing the lost can be discouraging. The sheer number of people who are walking around without Jesus is immense. It reminds me of the parable of the starfish in which thousands of starfish wash up onto the shore after a storm and lay dying in the hot sun. But saving the lost isn’t about picking them up one by one and hurling them into the Water. It’s about being an ambassador and witness for Christ. It’s about planting seeds that God can water and praying, hard, for the harvest. And no matter how frustrating it can be when it feels like our efforts are in vain, the Bible gives us three very good reasons why we can never stop trying to get the starfish into the water. We can never stop trying to save the lost.
We Have to Keep Trying Because We Love Them
For some starfish, their lives on the beach are hard. Some of them are genuinely hurting, struggling, and gasping for air to breathe. They don’t understand their condition. They don’t know that there is a better Way. The connection between their pain and the lack of Living Water escapes them. Here is where we must be a witness. We must live our lives by constantly immersing ourselves in Christ. We must continuously refresh ourselves in the Word of God. Our lights will then shine brightly, and when they ask us, we will be prepared to give the reason why we have hope.
But what do you do when many of the starfish don’t want to go into the water? Their little suckers are attached to the sand with an iron grip. They don’t understand that they will die without the breath of life in just a short time. They are happy sunning on the shore in their sin. The good news of Jesus is little more than an annoying memo to them. But even if they don’t understand their condition, we do. Love says we must pray for them to have eyes to see. We must plant seeds that Jesus can water in His time to save the lost.
We Have to Keep Trying Because We Love God
For starfish, the ocean gives them the oxygen they need. Time spent outside of the water means a countdown to death, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The sea is vast and teeming with life. There is enough room and provision for all starfish to live. God gives breath to all creatures, and Jesus died so that all may live eternally. When we tell other people about what Jesus has done for us, it honors God. When we give witness about the things God is doing in our lives, we give Him glory. Not every person we talk to about Christ will accept Him. In fact, for some, our love for Jesus will be the very thing that makes them hate us. We can’t give up, though. Our motivation should be to please and honor God, and that must sustain us.
We Have to Keep Trying Because It Is a Command
The storm in the parable explains why the starfish were washed to shore, but what explains the little boy’s desire to restore life? A different child might have been more interested in poking the little creatures with sticks or pulling off their legs. Kids learn what they are taught at home. This boy’s family taught him that life is valuable. Maybe his father even suggested that he go down to the beach to see what he could do to help. As for Christians, we are commanded by God, our Father, in Mark 16:15 to do our part to save the lost. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” It’s not an option. It’s not just for a few. The commands in the Bible are for everyone just as much as the promises are. We must be obedient to God even when we are busy or tired, and even when it takes us outside our comfort zone.
That’s Why We Can Never Give Up
Jesus Christ has the Water that gives life. He offers hope and comfort for today and eternal life for tomorrow. As His children, we know Him and how amazing it is to be a part of His kingdom. It’s not for us to keep our great God, Comforter, and Friend a secret. We can’t sit around in lawn chairs building sandcastles while people are hurting and dying all around us. We must be His hands and feet to bring others to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Until that day, and as much as is within us, we must love people, love God, and be obedient to His call to “go.” We must never give up on the starfish. We must continue to try to save the lost.
If you like analogies, try It’s Not the Machine That Makes Us Clean. It compares aspects of the Christian life to a dishwasher. Or, try Christian Deception & Monopoly House Rules. It’s an article that categorizes all the ways churches are finding to change the “game.”