The Story of the Lifesaving Station

3.5 stars

On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew.

Some members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as sort of a club.  

Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decorations, and there was a miniature lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.  

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities, since they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

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when was this illustration uploaded? I'm trying to date the actual historical lineage of this very story and needs to know. Thanks
- chris gensheer (4 Dec 2009)

Love it, heard it this weekend.
- Benjer (19 Jul 2010)

I think it is from Youth Specialties (Mike Yaconelli) and I saw this first in the early 1980s...
- Rich (14 Jun 2012)

A provacative story! Reminds me of how m y pastor, pope Francis, is challenging our Church to rediscover our True purpose: all baptized are called to evangelize!
- Martin (10 Jul 2014)

I just heard this in a sermon illustration from John MacArthur in a sermon he preached in 1978! He said this came from an older Presbyterian publication (probably from the 50s or 60s)

- Bjerke (3 Sep 2014)

Very good - however the comments on skin color are a little specific and make the story awkward. Just leaving it at foreigners would be better.
- Jared (14 Jun 2015)

A mimeographed copy of this story was given to me by a retired Methodist pastor a few years ago. He credited it to Rev. T.O Wedel, Warden, College of Preachers, Washington Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
- Ignatz (6 Jul 2017)

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