As the United States troop transport ship known as the SS Dorchester made its way from New York to Greenland, it was struck by a German torpedo during the early morning hours on February 3, 1943. Power was lost preventing the crew from sending radio distress signals, inadequate steam left the ship with the inability to sound the full 6 whistle signal to abandon ship, and the damage was so severe that the ship sank by its bow in about 20 minutes. Sadly, there were not enough life boats or life jackets for all the men on board which reveals they clearly learned nothing from the sinking of the Titanic, and more importantly the great loss of life that took place many years earlier in 1912. But of the 904 souls on board the SS Dorchester that day, only 230 survived, leaving 674 souls that perished. Some dying from the initial torpedo hit, most dying from the frigid waters that cold morning with water temperatures being at 34 degrees.

The Dorchester is best remembered because of the actions of four US Army officers, four men who also served as chaplain for various denominations. That night these four men took off their life jackets and gave them to four young officers that were without. These gave up their own lives in order to save others. What a selfless sacrifice these men made, a decision that resulted in the preservation of four other souls. Four young men who were able to have their lives continue at the expense of someone else dying in their place. I wonder what those surviving men did with their second chance at life. Did they discipline themselves to serve God and live dedicated to Him? 

John 15:13— (ESV)

13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

While one chaplain’s sacrifice resulted in one soul being preserved, in Christ lying down His life, ALL humanity is given the opportunity to be eternally preserved from the death and suffering hell will bring about. Those who have responded to the Gospel call understand what Christ has saved us from, but do we live everyday with that understanding? Do we remember always that we were drowning in a sea of sin, and Christ not only rescued us, but died to give us a better life than the one we were living prior to His sacrifice? Are we willing to part with this life if the result will be glorifying Him? I am sure many of us would die for the Lord no questions asked, but how many of us will really be forced to be in such a position? In this day and age, in this country the answer is likely not a single person reading these words, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be willing and ready. But at the end of the day, dying for the Lord is easy, it is the living for Him day in and day out that takes discipline, dedication, and determination. And remember this as we strive to live for the Lord, there are those out there who need our help, people all around us drowning in sin who don’t know the Lord. They need us to present to them the Gospel message so they too can be eternally saved. While the preservation of this physical life is great, the preservation of the soul is abundantly better. Christ died so that we could live, and as we live we should see the importance of helping others find life in Christ as well. Unlike those four US army officers who gave up their lives so others could be saved, the beautiful things about helping souls come to Christ is we get to keep our life jacket that is Christ while still providing others with the same jacket we are being saved by. THERE IS NO GREATER WAY WE CAN SHOW OUR LORD, AND NO GREATER LOVE WE CAN HAVE FOR OUR FELLOW MAN THAN TO HELP THEM SEE THE GREAT LOVE CHRIST HAS FOR ALL. 


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