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Some years ago in Northwestern University, near Chicago, a rescue crew was organized. Their purpose was the rescue of the drowning on the lake.

One day the news came that a magnificent vessel was wrecked just off the shore. The young men hurried at once to the scene of the disaster, and plunged into the angry waters to rescue those who were going down. Soon they all returned, but one. Finally he came in, bringing one man with him. Immediately he returned to the lake, and soon brought another, and then another, and so on until he had rescued ten.

During this time his mates had built a fire and were warming themselves, all the time trying to persuade the young hero against his conviction of duty. By the time he had brought the tenth man he was completely exhausted, and had to rest for a while. Regaining sufficient strength, he again plunged into the water and brought another man. Now he was completely overcome. During the night he died from exposure.

It was a sad scene. While friends stood around weeping, and his fellow students were regretting that they had not forced him to do as they had, he called one of them to his bedside, and said in a low subdued tone, just before he died: "Did I do my best?"

Instantly his friend said: "Yes, I should think you did do your best. You saved eleven, but you have lost your life."

"But," said he, "did I do my best, my dead-level best?"

"Yes, you did your dead-level best."

Then a smile seemed to come over his face as if to say: "Then I am satisfied to die."

Oh, my friends, this will be something of our experience when we are in the presence of God in eternity! "Did I do my best, my dead-level best?"

(From a sermon by Chris Surber, "Future Grace" 2/26/2009)

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