On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 hit World Trade Center Tower 1 at 8:46 am. Rick Rescorla ignored building officials’ advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,800 employees on 20 floors of World Trade Center Tower 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5. Rescorla reminded everyone to "be proud to be an American ... everyone will be talking about you tomorrow", and sang God Bless America and other songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building. Rescorla had most of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 employees as well as people working on other floors of WTC 2 safely out of the buildings by the time United Airlines Flight 175 hit WTC 2 at 9:07 a.m.
After having reached safety, Rescorla returned to the building to rescue others still inside. He was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains were not recovered. As a result of Rescorla’s actions, only 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 WTC employees were killed on September 11th, 2001, including Rick and three of his deputies who followed him back into the building.
The remainder of this very moving broadcast focused on Morgan Stanley Bank employees who now in tears were praising and acknowledging Rick Rescorla for saving their lives from total destruction that day. Many felt so guilty and apologetic they had thought Rick foolish to keep preaching and standing for what he believed would happen if they were not ready. Those interviewed said they would never forget Rick Rescorla. He was their hero.
Mr. Rescorla left behind a widow, Susan Rescorla, and two children that day. Since 911, a memorial stone was erected in Rick’s hometown of Hayle, Cornwall, to commemorate his life and the sacrifice he made to save others.
James 5:19-20 says, “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” As sinners saved by grace, we must have a “Rick Rescorla Attitude.” He was convinced people entrusted to his care would perish if his plan of escape were ignored. Rick Rescorla stayed the course even when unpopular and ridiculed because he believed what he was doing would save lives.
Sadly, many Christians today have a “Cain Attitude” when it comes to rescuing the perishing and having a consistent witness. Unlike Rick Rescorla, they say by their actions: “I am not my brother’s keeper.” How this must grieve the heart of Almighty God who has left us here as His Beloved Children to share the Good News of Jesus Christ so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Christians must not respond like the young man applying for a position as an usher in a movie theater when asked what he would do if there was a fire. He responded to the job interviewer, “Don’t worry I would be able to get out of the theater.” Many Christians feel this way about the lost people around them whom are about to perish in the eternal fires of hell without those who know the way to safety to point the way.
Remember the Good Shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep and went after the one that was lost. Today ask yourself, “Am I passing the buck or the baton when it comes to affirming others in word, deed and witness?” Why deny someone the very news that saved your soul and led you to safety in Jesus? Christians must not remain in their inner circle. They must replace the “Cain Attitude” so prevalent today with a “Rick Rescorla Attitude” and reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to save those who will otherwise perish in the fire.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by David Dykes on Apr 4, 2003
This in-depth view of Prodigal Son parable focuses on the elder son and the bitterness and resentment he displayed upon his brother’s return and how we sometimes have the same inflated sense of goodness and faulty understanding of our Father’s grace.