Standing in the Gap

In movies, great moments often precede a dangerous mission. A leader makes it clear that the mission is so fraught with peril that one must volunteer in order to participate.
The leader draws a line in the sand and says something like, “This is too dangerous a mission for me to require you to perform. But I need volunteers. Anyone who wants to follow me, step across this line.” Only this is said with more words, greater emotion and accompanied by heartfelt music. Of course, in the movies everyone crosses the line.
I know this dates me, but the first time I remember watching this scene was in Davey Crockett and the Alamo when I was a kid. I’m sure I’ve got the movie title wrong and the characters confused, but I do remember seeing it many years ago. It may not have been historically accurate, but it sure was captivating as Davey, Jim Bowie and the others crossed the line to fight against insurmountable odds when General Sam Houston made his plea.
There’s another scene quite like this in the book of Ezekiel. God draws a line in the sand as well. He is recruiting, but unfortunately, He doesn’t get the same results that General Houston did when he asked for volunteers at the Alamo.
In chapter 22, 29 of the 31 verses are devoted to explaining Jerusalem’s sins: Idol worship, sexual immorality, bribes, injustice, murder. And that’s just a few. Then in verse 30, the Lord draws His line in the sand:
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and  stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.
The Lord Himself was looking for just one person to stand in the gap, and in the whole city, He found none.
Surrounded by love
In Young Life, we are looking for individuals to stand in the gap. We need more people to be gap-standers on behalf of kids if we’re going to reach the millions of adolescents we want to each year. Our founder, Jim Rayburn, used this line often: “Within a mile of every high school, there are enough people to love kids for Christ’s sake if they would just do it.”
Rayburn believed that these people were there to love kids and introduce them to Jesus Christ. But he knew that they had to do it.
Are you a gap-stander?
I’m calling on all of us as we finish our summer and look forward to fall to “just do it.” Stand in the gap. Fill the role that is needed. In Young Life, first and foremost, we need volunteer leaders — leaders of all ages who will lead a club or assist another leader of that club.
I am convinced that we will never get to every school and every kid through the efforts of our paid staff alone. We will need to increase the volunteer pool substantially to reach kids in the cities, suburbs and small towns throughout the world. We need more volunteers to show Jesus to kids with disabilities, kids who have babies of their own, kids who are popular and kids who aren’t.
We also need men and women who will serve on the local committee and partner with our staff and volunteers. Who will help raise the budget, support the team and pray continually for lost kids? We need men and women who will stand in the gap financially and give liberally.
“Within a mile of every high school, there are enough people to love kids for Christ’s sake ...” If Rayburn is right, then people are already there. We are there. But we won’t get to that school unless more people stand in the gap — unless we stand in the gap.
I’m asking God to give us gap-standers. I’m trusting that the response will be more like the response to Sam Houston at the Alamo than the response to God in Jerusalem.
Will you ask the Lord where He wants you to stand?