When I start talking about a ship called the R.M.S. Carpathia, a lot of people look at me blankly. “The Car.. what?”
Never heard of it.
On the other hand, if I say “Titanic” there is immediate recognition. Probably the most famous, or infamous, ship in history. What if I told you that the story of the Titanic can never be fully told without talking about the Carpathia?
Come back with me to that fateful night when the Titanic, the ship that had been claimed “unsinkable”, went down in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. April 14th, 1912 …
There were two other large ships in the vicinity of where the Titanic sank. They were the S.S. Californian and the R.M.S. Carpathia. The closer of the two was the Californian. She was close enough at hand at the time of the sinking to see the distress rockets, but the wireless operator had quit his post and so they never received the Titanic’s radio S.O.S calls. Captain Lord had retired and was awakened from sleep by a crewmember with a report of five white flares from a ship where the Titanic was known to be. But they thought it was just a party going on with fireworks, so the Captain merely instructed them to signal the other ship with their morse light, and never even thought to rouse their radioman. The Captain himself went back to his sleep.
Here’s what was determined in the investigation later: had the Californian responded to any of the distress calls or signals, ALL of Titanic’s passengers and crew might have been evacuated before they froze to death in the water.
Then there was this other ship, the Carpathia. It was much further away from the Titanic, but it’s wireless operator was alert and heard her distress call. He notified the Captain, who IMMEDIATELY gave the order to turn around and sail to the Titanic at full steam. Being further away it took the Carpathia several hours to get there, and many people had perished in the meantime – but EVERY survivor who was saved that night was picked up by the Carpathia. The diligence of that Captain and crew is the only reason ANYONE was saved at all.
How many Christians, how many churches, are like that first ship, the Californian? The world is foundering – about to be lost for eternity – but we sail on our way somehow oblivious. Blinded to their condition, they don’t even know to signal S.O.S., and so the Lord who loves them has done it on their behalf – calling to His people to go.
Every church should be like the Carpathia. Every believer should be like THAT crew – we should leave everything to go immediately to rescue the perishing before it’s too late.
The S.O.S. 31 Day Challenge
Yesterday I wrote about the challenge we are issuing to all our church family at First Assembly, and to anyone else who will join us. Throughout the month of October will you commit yourself to not allow one day to go by without giving the gospel to at least one person – either by a personal witnessing conversation, or giving them a clear gospel tract.
We want this to be a great way for people to make a start in a life of personal evangelism. It doesn’t have to be terrifying – check out yesterday’s post for full details.
California or Carpathia? Which will you be?