By Lonnie Wilkey
The boys escaped the cave with little time to spare as water pumps failed immediately after their rescue and flooded the area they had vacated. The Thailand Navy Seals, who played a major role in the rescue effort, barely escaped.
The real-life drama captivated people worldwide. As flooding occurred in the area, the constant question was, “Could those boys and their coach be rescued before they drowned or suffocated?”
Rescue efforts included people from various countries including Australia and the United States.
Maj. Charles Hodges, the U.S. mission commander for the 353rd Special Operations unit for the Air Force, was interviewed by “CBS This Morning” on July 11.
Hodges cited the role of cooperation in the rescue effort. “It took every single one of us, putting our heads together and pushing aside political and cultural differences and doing our best to find a solution.” He added that the experience reinforced the concept of teamwork. “It was pretty impressive seeing all these entities working together,” he said on the newscast.
Christians and churches can learn from this incredible cave rescue as they are faced with a similar life and death issue: reaching the thousands upon thousands of people in our world who will die without professing faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The Thailand soccer team was rescued because rescuers had a common goal, they laid aside differences to get the job done and no one cared who received the credit.
How does that apply to the church?
A common goal: The goal of any church (and individual believers) must be seeing souls saved. If every church would focus on seeing people saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship (one of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s Five Objectives), we could see 50,000 people annually come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Lay aside differences and work together: Churches are comprised of people with different backgrounds, opinions, skills and talents. Not everyone will agree on everything that happens within the church. The key is to not allow those differences to sidetrack the goal or mission of the church — sharing the gospel and leading people to Christ. When a church works together (cooperation), God will use that to accomplish His will.
The credit belongs to God: In every account I read or listened to about the cave rescue, I never heard one person/group claim credit. Maj. Hodges said it well: “It took every single one of us … to find a solution.” If churches want to grow and lead people to Christ, Christians can’t worry about “notches on their belt” when it comes to seeing people accept Christ. We, as Christians, can’t save anyone. All we can do is share the Good News of Jesus Christ and let the Holy Spirit work. God will take care of the rest and He deserves all the credit. We are blessed when He uses us to accomplish His will.
It was never mentioned on any broadcast I heard, but God performed another one of His miracles by enabling those 12 boys and their leader to survive underground for nearly three weeks with minimal food and water.
May He receive glory and honor from the rescue and may Christians and churches learn lessons they can use to rescue people doomed for an eternity in hell.