Almost twenty years ago, Schindler’s List, the epic drama directed by Stephen Spielberg, was released. The movie, based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, had an immediate social impact, and is regarded today as one of the most influential films of the twentieth century. The film received seven Academy Awards, and three Golden Globes.
The film tells the story of a German businessman who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories, thus keeping them from the Nazi concentration camps. Recently, I saw the movie on television, and once again, I was blown away by the difference one man can make.
The most powerful moment in the movie is the scene where Schindler is saying goodbye and leaving the factory. The war is over. Hitler had been defeated, and thousands were being liberated throughout Europe. Although he did not know the exact numbers, Oskar Schindler was aware that hundreds of thousands had not survived the atrocities of Nazi Germany. He had seen the evidence in Auschwitz and Krakow. Surrounded by the hundreds of men, women and children he had saved, he is about to leave to face his own uncertain future. He looks over the crowd of people he had kept safe, and said, “I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.“Then he looks at his car, and said, “This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people.” Falling to his knees weeping he said, “I could have gotten one more person… and I didn’t! And I… I didn’t!”
When we hear about people like Oskar Schindler, it forces us to ask ourselves some tough questions about our own priorities, and about how we are using the resources God has given us.
More importantly, stories like this lead us to ask, “How important are people? In addition, “Do we have that level of compassion for others?” If not, why not? The Apostle Paul bares his heart in his letter to the Romans, revealing his deep passion for his people and their salvation.
“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:1-2)
Even the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust does not compare to the Bible’s description of eternal punishment and separation from God, in a place Jesus called hell. If delivering people from physical death and saving lives on this side of eternity are as important to us as it was to Oskar Schindler, then how much more should we be willing to do and give to save others from spiritual separation from God.
Do we really believe Jesus came to deliver us from eternal death? Do we believe through faith in His name, His death on the cross is applied to our debt and eternal life is ours through faith in Him? If we believe these things, then we should have a driving passion to share this message with everyone we know.
In light of what Oskar Schindler gave up in order to save people from the concentration camps and death, what are we willing to give up, to sacrifice, in order that others might hear the message of hope and eternal life?
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10, 11 NASB
The cross shows us how much God cares! How much do we care?
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