Today’s Devotional Tidbit – November 20, 2006
Let Us Do Things For Others
You may have never heard of Chen Si. He is a man on a mission. I think he is a great example for Christians everywhere. He works a full-time job selling billboard advertising in Nanjing, China. Then on his days off, Saturdays and Sundays, he goes to the Nanjing Bridge to save lives. Suicide is the leading cause of death among 18-34 year old men in China. The Nanjing Bridge has been nicknamed the “suicide” bridge because of the certainty of death after one jumps from it. This notoriety has come about because more and more people have jumped from it over the past few years. A little over two years ago, Chen Si watched a news report about a man on a bridge in another city. That man wanted to end his life and he was encouraged to jump by onlookers. Chen Si’s heart was hurt. He set forth to do something about this terrible problem. He decided then and there to patrol the Nanjing Bridge and find potential jumpers. He identifies potential jumpers by looking out for people who walk like they have no spirit. He has talked many people out of suicide; those are the easy ones. He has had to tackle others to stop them from jumping. There have been a few times when he has held onto a jumper and had them fall from his grasp to die in the freezing waters of the Yangtze River far below. Chen Si has never given up his mission. I commend him for that.
Some of us might think that stopping someone from committing suicide is enough. That would be like Christians thinking “if we just get someone into our church building, everything will be just fine.” Chen Si says he will not “cheat someone into living another day.” By that, he means he will not save someone from death and then send them on their way with a fond farewell. Chen Si helps change the life circumstances of the people he saves. He wants to change whatever hurt and pain that exists in the lives of those he saves. Not only that, some of those he has saved, have in turn, gone on to help him save lives. He is reproducing himself. He is saving lives. He is helping people with their hurt, heartache, and pain. He not only works on a bridge, he is building a bridge for each and every person he saves. He is taking people where they are at, and helping them span the pain and despair that lies in the river of life before them. He is helping them cross over to the other side where a new life exists. Chen Si does this at great expense to himself, not just financially, but emotionally too. People all over his province have heard about his ability to give hope. His phone rings at all times of the night. In addition to his life saving duties on Saturdays and Sundays, he feels the pressure of giving hope to those he can’t even meet. This takes a toll on his marriage (his wife and child do not like his hope giving work). This takes a toll on his health (he now chain smokes). He needs help. My wife and I hope to embark on a new ministry in the near future in which we will have our own mission efforts to support. We long to help connect Chen Si with Christians in China that can help him with his efforts. We want to offer him hope (through prayer, finances, and helpers) as he offers hope to those on the Nanjing Bridge. Chen Si has encouraged me to do more for others, offer food, drink, love, friendship, clothes. As a Christian, I don’t just want to build a bridge halfway for the pre-Christians I meet in my everyday life. I want to build a bridge that connects people to Christ and to a life filled with changed circumstances. I want to help eliminate hurt and pain. I hope you will too. Chen Si brilliantly reflects Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:34-41 –
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Of course, let us invite people to church and study the Bible with them, but let us not neglect doing things to help people through their painful and hurting lives.