A sailor was the only survivor of the unfortunate foundering of a vessel near an uncharted and desolate island. The only way to reach the island was by swimming; but one had to be a very strong swimmer to reach the shore. All others, save this one sailor, who attempted swimming the distance were lost.
On the island, from sticks, reeds and stones, he built a little shelter to protect himself from the weather. Much of his time was spent in experimenting with the wild vegetation for food, and in searching out the island for some other human beings. Somehow he got a little fire started to keep himself fairly comfortable when the nights were cold; but he had to keep it burning continuously. On first reaching the island, he had taken his shirt and fastened it to the top of a very tall tree in the hope that some vessel passing might see it and come to rescue him.
Day after day, he kept searching all over the island. One morning as he climbed a hill, he saw a cloud of smoke rising heavenward. He began to hope that this was evidence that there was another human on the island. Both his heart and his pace quickened, but on reaching the top of the hill and looking down, he saw that it was his own little shack with all of his earthly belongings that had burned away. Slowly,
disappointedly, he made his way back to the shore. There he sat down in the sand, with his head in his hands, and gazed out upon the restless sea, wondering if it were not better for him to walk out into it and drown himself. Surely, this would end all of his misery …
Suddenly he spied another column of smoke, but it was on the distant horizon. He watched it anxiously and hopefully, thinking that it was a vessel come to rescue him. It was nearing the island; but suddenly it stopped in its approach, and his hopes again were shattered. However, in another moment he noticed that a small lifeboat was being put down alongside of the vessel, and that a man in the rowboat was
making for the shore where he stood. The man in the boat ceased rowing, and cupping his lips, shouted to the forlorn sailor, “We just saw your smoke signals, and have come to rescue you.”
So, too, the great salvation is not for us until all of our earthly hopes and ambitions have been completely abandoned for the greatest of all treasures — that great redemption in Christ Jesus!