I have taken CPR (Comical Pastoral Resuscitation) classes on two different occasions over the years. After each one, I was certified to save people for twelve months . . . especially if they looked like a department store mannequin and had a plastic hose sticking out of their chest, clear plastic wrap over their mouth, and a permanent smile.  In layman’s terms, it simply meant I was qualified to jump on top of people, pinch their nostrils, blow into their mouth, and beat their chest.

It is similar to what they do at weddings in some isolated areas of west Texas instead of exchanging vows. This kind of training comes in handy when you happen upon someone who is choking (like the ’86 Red Sox) or someone suffering from cardiac arrest, where the heart is arrested for making a U-turn. It is not to be confused with Gomer’s condition on the Andy Griffith Show, which was called “citizen’s arrest.”

What’s really scary about this whole CPR thing is that it can be used on pets. Now don’t get me wrong; I love Paisley and Gracie. But the mental picture of me putting my mouth on one of them is wrong on so many levels. For a dog the instructions say “begin by sealing the dog’s lips.” Have you ever tried to seal a Chihuahua’s lips? That would be like asking me to dip my hand in honey and stick it in a bear’s face. And besides, Paisley’s breath always smells like she just ate a dirty sock  and washed it down with sardine juice. I’m not about to blow into her mouth.

Gracie, our secondary Chihuahua, is even smaller. If I blew into her mouth, she’d blow up. And what’s this business about giving them the Heimlich maneuver if they are choking? There’s another picture I don’t want the neighbors to see: me squeezing a Chihuahua. If I squeezed Gracie like that without a firm hold, she’d shoot across the room. Chihuahuas are known for being the smallest dog breed and for being extremely loyal to their owner. Squeezing Gracie and shooting her across the room is the quickest way I know to end that loyalty.

We probably don’t have many occasions to give CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) to people in trouble, but we more than likely see people every day who need a jump-start on their spiritual hearts. It is amazing what a breath of fresh air can do for the stale and stagnant heart in getting rid of obstructions. Know anyone who is choking on the food offered by the world when all they need is to taste the Bread of Life?

What they need is CPR (Christ-Promised Refuge). Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV). “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me” (John 7:37 NRSV). “I have come in order that they might have life, life in all its fulness” (John 10:10 TEV).

All are promising words from Jesus about rest, refuge, and resuscitation. We need to share them with others. When we do share, we can’t ignore the “Chihuahuas” in life, those who may appear to be the most disgusting. We can’t be choosy when it comes to offering life support. Are you trained in CPR (Christ-Promised Refuge)? If you are a Christian, you are . . . and the world is your classroom. You’re not qualified to save them, but you can point them to the One who can.

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