In 1940, Great Britain was faced with a terrible dilemma. British troops (together with the remnants of the French and Belgian armies) had been forced to retreat to the beaches of Dunkirk, France after suffering defeat to the Nazi war machine. Evacuation across the English Channel was the only viable option remaining . . . but even that seemed like a longshot.
Nearly 400,000 British, French, and Belgian forces gathered at Dunkirk while the German armored infantry surrounded the perimeter, and the German Air Force bombed the beaches. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered a full evacuation of Dunkirk in late May, 1940, but after one day, only 7,000 troops had made it safely onto evacuation boats. The need was great . . . and the capacity on the boats were limited. In his best case estimate, using only military options, Churchill believed they could get 45,000 (a little more than 10%) of the troops home — but this simply was not good enough. So Great Britain put out a general call to all who owned a sea worthy boat in England. The need was simple – “Bring our troops home.” 800 non-military boat captains answered this call and headed toward the fight. Risking their own lives, these civilians took off for France, and amazingly helped bring back over 330,000 troops in just over one week! This event became known as the “miracle of Dunkirk” and was the subject of one of 2017’s most critically acclaimed movies.
I was thinking of Dunkirk today as I read Matthew 9:35 – 10:4. In these verses Jesus looked out on the masses and saw their great need. Jesus knew that His death would be sufficient to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin, but He also knew that (by God’s design) it would take many “boats” to get people to the safety of saving faith. “The Harvest is plentiful,” Jesus said, “ but the workers are few. Beseech the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into the Harvest.”
So Jesus called to Himself 12 disciples that He would send out on a mission – “Bring God’s children home.” 2,000 years later, the same call goes out to all the followers of Jesus . . . “Go into all the world and make disciples . . .”
Like the 800 civilian captains in 1940, will you heed the call and head to the fight? Will you take the life boat of saving faith in Jesus and offer salvation to those who don’t yet know Him?
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will continue our “Follow” series by looking at Jesus’ call of the 12 . . . and His reason for doing so. Make plans to join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service.