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Friday, April 29, 2011

Kyle Massengale

Please forgive the second "Stuart story" for those of you who heard about
Stuart's unlikely recovery from "death's door" Sunday before last. This
little squirrel has really burrowed his way into our lives (yes, I know that
is a rabbit metaphor). Early Tuesday morning, Carl was cleaning out
Stuart's cage, aka our dog's old travel kennel. Somehow, Stuart made his
way onto our tallest tree and shimmied up onto a branch about twenty feet
high. Having spent most of his life inside our nice, warm house, Stuart had
no idea how to get down from there. So, he stayed in one spot. This went
from minutes to hours. Finally, in the late afternoon, we borrowed a tall
ladder to rescue Stuart. The process took a couple of hours, but finally,
after prodding him with a stick and tossing a tennis ball over and over near
him and having a blanket as a makeshift trampoline just in case, I was able
to reach up and grab the scared tree rodent and bring him back to ground

Perhaps because that evening I was going to be speaking on a podcast with
Kyle Massengale about evangelism, I saw a compelling analogy. While never
wanting to trivialize the eternally important task of soul-winning, several
things occurred to me in the rescue of that squirrel necessary to our work
of winning the lost. This occurred to me, as I thought about our memorable
episode with Stuart.

It took effort. From hauling and setting up the ladder, to getting up high
enough to reach the critter, to coaxing, pleading, and the like, we had to
exert effort to save the squirrel.

It took emotion. It was because especially certain members of my family
have a fond affection for Stuart that we stuck with this to the end. Care
preceded intervention.

It took persistence. The whole process took hours to complete. There were
times when giving up seemed the best choice and especially the most
convenient choice, but everyone stayed on the task.

It took teamwork. Some held the blanket, some held the ladder, some climbed
the ladder (or the tree), and one held the camera. Together, we did it.

It was not initially appreciated. At first, Stuart did not understand and
certainly did not appreciate what we were doing. It seems that he is happy
with the outcome, but when I pulled him, claws and all, from his branch, he
squeaked and squealed for the first few seconds.

As we think souls every day, we should be reminded that it takes effort,
emotion, persistence, and teamwork. The preacher or a small minority cannot
fulfill the church's mission alone. It will require sacrifices of time and
resources. It will require personal study to prepare to study with others.
It will necessarily involve our emotions, from the love that prompts us to
share the good news to the potential heartache and joy that occurs in
teaching the lost. It will exact a persevering, tenacious attitude. Oh,
and sometimes the lost will not initially appreciate our desire to help--at
least as far as we can tell--but how it will be worth it, for them and for
others, if we make the effort! Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke
19:10)! May we join Him in doing the same, no matter what!

Neal Pollard

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