|Vol. 1, No. 5||Page 11||May 1999|
Parable of the Lifesaving Station
By T.O. Wedel[The Knight Arnold News, Vol. 23, No. 38, September 23, 1997, p. 2.]
On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks were frequent, a crude little lifesaving station was built. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted crewmen kept a constant watch and vigil over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out day or night, tirelessly searching for any who might need help. Many lives were saved by their devoted efforts. After a while, the station became famous. Some of those who were saved, as well as others in the surrounding area, wanted to become a part of the work. They gave time and money for its support. New boats were bought, additional crews were trained, and the lifesaving station grew. Some of the members of the lifesaving station became unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a larger, nicer place would be more appropriate as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with hospital beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Soon the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members to discuss the work and to visit with each other. They continued to remodel and decorate until the station more and more took on the look and character of a club. Fewer members were interested in going out on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional crews to do their work.
One day a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in many boatloads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty, bruised, and sick; and some had black or yellow skin. The beautiful new club was terribly messed up, and so the property committee immediately has a shower house built outside the club where shipwreck victims 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 altogether, as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted on keeping lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that, after all, they were still called a lifesaving station. But those members were voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives they could begin their own station down the coast somewhere.
As the years went by, the new station gradually faced
the same problems the other one had experienced. It, too, became
a club, and its lifesaving work became less and less of a priority.
The few members who remained dedicated to lifesaving began another station.
History continued to repeat itself; and if you visit that coast today you
will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks
are still frequent in these waters, but most of the people drown.