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Those Jesus Doesn’t Save

We know Jesus as Savior, but what do we really understand about saving? For example, consider the Titanic. When the Titanic sank, the people in the water needed saving. Those in the lifeboats had the power to save them. You have got to be in danger to be saved, but what do we know about d…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

We know Jesus as Savior, but what do we really understand about saving? For example, consider the Titanic. When the Titanic sank, the people in the water needed saving. Those in the lifeboats had the power to save them.

You have got to be in danger to be saved, but what do we know about danger? What terror have we experienced that has caused us to cry out for help?

We struggle with this idea of saving on a number of levels. We are a nation of consumers, not savers. We naturally spend, but must be taught to save. Our stores advertise the “savings” that can be ours if we’ll just spend money.

How do we understand our need for a savior living in a culture that has little to teach us about the need for saving?

I heard a story from a World Racer named Tanner that helped bring home this concept. Tanner was in Cambodia. While there, Sam helped Tanner understand the need for a savior. Sam, an eight-year-old Cambodian girl, has to beg for a living.

She approached Tanner and asked him for money, but her eyes were begging to be saved from a life of pain. He talked to her for a bit and then fished out a few coins for her.

The money Tanner gave her only made her mad. “It’s not fair!” She cried out.

He tried to get away from her, but she pursued him. She grew more mad as he tried to away. “I hate you! She yelled.

Tanner didn’t know what to do. Sam’s desperation seemed to grow in intensity. She ran after him, then she jumped in front of him. “It’s not fair! I hate you!” She punched him and then dissolved before him and began to cry the tears of an inconsolable soul.

Tanner wanted to help, but he had nothing for Sam. And then a man showed up, grabbed her arm, and took her away.

The experience rocked Tanner. He had known Jesus as Savior, but this was the first time he’d seen someone who seemed beyond Jesus’s ability to save.

To really appreciate what it means to be saved, at least in the moment, you must experience what it feels like to live in desperation, to be beyond salvation.

It’s a paradox that we have to experience the absence of a thing to appreciate its value.

We say that Jesus came to save the whole world, but the fact is that many want to be saved, but like Sam, never make it.

When was the last time you felt despair so deep that you looked for saving?

Somewhere on the streets of Phnom Penh, a little girl cries out for hope. May her cries and those of others like her lodge in our hearts and motivate us to action.

Comments (10)

  • Most of my experiences with Beggers have left me feeling used especially the ones where I give. This story finally cuts through my own BS and puts me face to face with the despair and need of those on the streets. Thanks for sharing this Seth.

    She’s not beyond saving…. But the body of Christ that’s supposed to reach her is still sitting in it’s own BS.

    I pray that we would indeed be moved to action.

  • Thanks Seth. This is so true. How often are we truly aware of our despair for a savior and what we are without him. Our society constantly tells us how great we are. In other cultures, they are constantly beaten down about how worthless they are. Who is better off? I think they are because they know they are nothing. They are a lot closer to turning everything over to Jesus because they have nothing to lose.

    Thanks for sharing. What a great reminder that only at the end of ourselves do we really find the Jesus that saves.

  • Yesterday I gave a guy on the corner some cash. It wasn’t much just the cash I had. He replied that at this point in his life, he would take what he would get. He then blessed my family.

    I drove away moved and wondered what was different that I gave. This morning as i checked your blog again, it hit me that I read this post yesterday.

    Perhaps God is using you to rid me of a some cynicism and replace it with compassion. Who knows what he did with that cash, who cares? I just want to care again and not look away because I don’t know what to do.

  • Seth, I want a happy ending. I want further exposition from you, leaving me with an inspirational thought. I want you to tie up the loose ends of this story for me. But you flash the hard truth on my heart with light that hurts . . . and then you sign off . . . leaving me in a deafening silence that breaks my heart because I have no answer but to throw myself on HIM for us all.

    • I want that happy ending too. And so does God. The pain she feels has to so unsettle us that we have to do something about it.

  • I am a retired navy veteran living in Kerrville,Texas on my parent’s land,a Christian with many friends in the Philippines that I talk to on yahoo messenger and on skype on camera for years. Ipersonally see their struggles and suffering.I talked to them before typhoon Yolanda wiped out their home,their kid’s school and took thousands of lives.How badly I wish to return there on a mission to help,because I know the Tagalog language and customs but cannot find a way to do it on what I make. Out of my pension,I have sent money and gifts several times,and pray daily for them,and witness as well.There is such a great need there that I feel so very helpless here.I have tried to seek churches but currently do not belong to one at the time.I want to raise money to help them,give bibles and do what Christ said to do.I love those people and that country is so in need of help.Any advice and prayer is greatly needed,thank you so much.I wont give up on them there.My dearest friend lives in Leyte,one of the most devastated areas hit by the typhoon,with her 2 daughters,nieces,elderly mom,in what is left of her home.ee just got the roof fixed temporarily.so much is needed,for anyone who wants to help one of the most caring and beautiful cultured peoples today.God bless this site and all here

  • Thank you for your beautiful inspiration here,and the immense topics that show God’s wisdom and working in you.The need is so great,and I struggle for inner and spiritual strength in this technological world where so many world influences have caused so many to be disconnected from God’s word by busyness and endless distraction.The level of hate displayed in comments on numerous social sites,and news articles is horrifying as well as the total out of control lack of morality and decency in videos on youtube and others media and tv is so overwhelming that practically sob in tears as a 50 year old man that I am,for our kids,for parents,for the tremendous suffering in this world.For the remainder of my life,all I truly wish for for myself,is to be a better servant to God,a light and hope for others that beg to see goodness and unjudging love.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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