The Life Guard

(Jesus said) “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:10

Long ago, when I was young, I was qualified to be a lifeguard. (And, yes, that was a very long time ago.) I remember one of the things we had to do to qualify is to dive down to the bottom of Mayo Lake and bring this huge rock to the surface and place it on the pier.

Although I’ve forgotten much of what I was taught, I do remember one thing: the job of a lifeguard is to … well … it’s to guard and save lives. That probably doesn’t surprise you. Most normal folks think the foremost duty of a lifeguard is to save lives.

Tomas LopezWe all were surprised to read some time ago about a Florida lifeguard by the name of Tomas Lopez who was fired because he had rescued a person from drowning. Lopez was fired because the drowning man was not in the area of the beach that had been assigned to him.

To be fair, the company which had employed Mr. Lopez was pleased he had saved the life of the endangered individual. Even so, his employers felt there were liability issues involved, and Mr. Lopez shouldn’t have put the company at risk by going after a drowning man in an area of the beach that wasn’t his responsibility.

Does all this sound strange to you? If so, you’re not alone. The company’s ruling seemed crazy to some other lifeguards, who walked off their jobs in support of Lopez. These lifeguards were also fired. When Hallandale officials gave them the key to the city. The Jeff Ellis Management, a private company the city has paid about $334,000 a year for lifeguards since 2003, fired Lopez for abandoning his post. They even offered their jobs back to the fired lifeguards, but they all refused. Lopez said “I was just doing my job.”

Now, here’s a question for those of you who think the first job of a lifeguard is to save lives and not watch a beach. Tell me, “What do you think is the prime job of the Savior?”

It is my hope your answer to that question sounded something like this: A Savior should save. It’s that simple.

Sadly, we live in an age where many wish to rewrite Jesus’ job description. There are some who would reduce Jesus to being a teacher, a philosopher, a genie whose only desire is to give them whatever they can imagine. 

Maybe the only answer that can be trusted — the only answer that counts — is that which comes from Jesus. He settles the debate by telling us He has come “to seek and save the lost.”

Dear Lord, no matter how great I think I am I cannot save myself. There are so many circumstances in life where I try and try only to finally realize that if I would only put my trust and faith in your love you would rescue me. In and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace




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