ACTS 1:8
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

AUGUST 24, 1997

Lesson one: Personally Involved

For our World View to succeed, every member of Second Baptist will have to find a place to serve, whether through praying, giving, or going. Involvement is the key. Jimmy Draper, President of our Southern Baptist Sunday School Board, tells a story which illustrates the importance of being personally involved.
February 15, 1921, stands as a watershed moment in medical history. On that day at King Summit Hospital in New York City, Dr. Evan O’Neal Cain performed a special surgery. In his 37 years as a surgeon, Dr. Cain had performed some 4,000 appendectomies. For years he had campaigned against the wholesale, widespread use of general anesthesia. He was a crusader, believing many surgeries could be performed with the use of local anesthesia.
Many doctors agreed with Cain, but nobody was willing to try it. No one would volunteer. People were queazy and squeamish about being awake when others were cutting on them. Thus, Dr. Cain’s theory remained unproved.
Finally, on February 15, 1921, Dr. Cain found a willing volunteer. The patient was wheeled into the operating room and given only local anesthesia. Dr. Cain opened the incision, removed the appendix, and closed the incision, with the patient experiencing only minor discomfort. Dr. Cain had proved his point, and medical science has never been the same since that day.
Who was the patient? Dr. Cain operated on himself. He could not prove his point any other way than by being personally involved.
In a higher, holier, and heavier sense, Jesus became involved in our situation to save us. He calls us to do the same for others.
I am ready to become involved. Ten months ago, I took a pen and wrote on a rough draft of a staff agenda two words, “World View.” Today I gladly take a pen and sign my name to a World View commitment card. I pray you will join me on this pilgrimage of faith.

Lesson two: We’re Still in the Arena

R.G. Lee told the story of a missionary who had retired and was returning to the USA after a lifetime of service in Africa. On the same ship, former President Teddy Roosevelt was returning to America from a hunting expedition in Africa.
When the ship docked, the whole city had turned out to welcome Mr. Roosevelt home. The former President and his entourage left the ship on a large walkway while a band played and the crowd cheered.
The other passengers, including the missionary, unceremoniously left the ship on a narrow gangplank kept out of view. Mr. Roosevelt and the cheering crowd followed the marching band in a huge parade toward the main part of town.
Soon everyone had left the pier, everyone except the missionary, who was left behind standing by himself. Even the people who were supposed to meet him had forgotten to come. Finally, the man who had given his whole life in missionary service, picked up his baggage and began trudging toward town. Hearing the revelry in the distance, feeling wronged and hurt, alone and dejected, the lonely missionary began complaining to God. “Lord, this isn’t right. I’ve given my life in service to you. I deserve to be treated better than this upon coming home.” Then the missionary sensed God whispering in his heart, “Son, you’re not home yet.”
Someday in Heaven there will be a great reception and time of honor for God’s faithful servants, but in the meantime we must remember we are not home yet. To borrow a line from Teddy Roosevelt himself, we are still in the arena. We are still able to engage the enemy, still able to make a difference. We have time and opportunity to start something which can outlive us.
When asked what he would do if he knew he would die tomorrow, Martin Luther replied, “Plant a tree.” In other words, he would do something which would continue blessing others, even long after he was gone. The World View gives us an opportunity to outlive ourselves, to overcome the limitations mortality tries to set on how much any one person can do in one lifetime. It affords us a chance to invest our lives in things which will continue to live after we are gone.
Seventy years ago this month, my Grandma Hill left her home in California, boarded a train, and journeyed to Southwestern Seminary in Forth Worth, Texas, in order to make a difference in her world. Seventy years ago today, my Grandma Marshall gave birth to my dad, the man who changed my world, who led me to saving faith in Jesus, and who most affected my formative years in the ministry.
We all follow in the footsteps of others who have gone before, dear saints who are passing the baton to us. Many have labored in the fields before us. Now we must lift up our eyes, look upon the fields, and find our place in the harvest.