A classic line from the Terminator movie series is, “Come with me if you want to live”1. I think that Arnold Schwarzenegger says it best, but others have quoted it, both elsewhere in the Terminator series and in other productions.
Some years ago, I was returning home from a trip in Eastern Europe with two colleagues from work. The first airport in our journey couldn’t ticket us all the way through, so we had to stop at the counter in the Frankfurt airport in Germany. When we finally got to the gate (since any transfer in Frankfurt seems to involve multiple security screenings and a lot of walking), we were informed that there was no room left on the next plane.
After having traveled to multiple countries over about 10 days, we were pretty tired and really wanted to get home. One of my colleagues (a retired military man) was trying to negotiate for hotel accommodations, while the other one headed to the restroom.
After much typing and printing, though, the agent pushed some tickets across the counter. When the colleague still with me at the counter asked where the hotel vouchers were (thinking that these were tickets for the next day’s flight), the ticket agent told us – sternly – to get on the plane. He had secured seats for us on the current flight, but the plane wasn’t staying at the gate for long.
Now, we had another problem: our other colleague was still at the restroom, and we had his baggage with us at the gate, leaving us stuck between the airline employees insistence that we get on the plane, and the fact that one of us wasn’t there. So, we stalled for a while until we saw him walking back, still far down the hall. I shouted, “Jerry! Run!“.2
He (continuing to walk back at normal speed) replied, “What?”
Have a look at this passage from Genesis, when angels from God were giving Abraham’s son Lot a chance not only to escape the coming destruction of the city where Lot was living, but also letting Lot bring others to safety with him:
Meanwhile, the angels questioned Lot. “Do you have any other relatives here in the city?” they asked. “Get them out of this place—your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. For we are about to destroy this city completely. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the LORD, and he has sent us to destroy it.”
So Lot rushed out to tell his daughters’ fiancés, “Quick, get out of the city! The LORD is about to destroy it.” But the young men thought he was only joking.
Genesis 19:12-14 NLT
The last sentence is tragic: faced with the opportunity to be saved from death, these men (engaged to Lot’s daughters) missed the importance of what they were being told. Their skepticism and lack of trust resulted in them missing out not only on their own weddings, but also from being alive 24 hours later.
I appreciate that we are bombarded with messages of false urgency on a regular basis. Advertisers tell us that a sale is for a “limited time” (even if, like one store that my wife and I would walk by years ago, the sign in the window says “40% Off. Today Only.”…every single day). Marketers try to persuade us that we are missing out if we don’t jump onto the latest trends (which usually means purchasing more stuff that they will try to convince us is out of style next year).
On the other hand, there are messages that we do need to respond do. Certain medical diagnoses warrant prompt action to address a problem. The “Check Oil” light on a car means that one should pull over quickly and stop the engine, rather than continuing to drive for several days until an appointment can be made with a mechanic.
The most important time-sensitive action that we need to take, though, is with regards to responding to Jesus’ offer to address our sins. Jesus offers us a path out of our sin-ordained destiny of separation from God.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
Revelation 3:20-21 NLT
However, note that Jesus describes Himself as knocking at the door. He isn’t barging in and forcing us to escape our plight, or carrying us away against our will from all of our self-imposed danger. Even as He offers us a singular (and unique) solution to our spiritual problem (which is really a problem that affects our entire being – mind, body, and soul), we still have to actually listen to Him and follow Him on this path to salvation. If we think that He is joking, or we otherwise don’t take Him at His word, we do so at our own peril.
So, although Jesus likely didn’t have gruff Austrian accent of the original Terminator actor, we can imagine Him urgently warning us, with love in His eyes, “Come with Me if you want to live”!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
- See https://terminator.fandom.com/wiki/Come_with_me_if_you_want_to_live. ↩
- Not his actual name. ↩