Landen Swain

I never get tired of watching movies. Something about a beautifully constructed film that captures the emotions of an era, encapsulates the seriousness of a historical event, or perfectly documents a character draws me in. I hate to waste time on bad movies, so I usually watch only critically acclaimed films. Over Christmas break, I watched Back to the Future, Inception, Hacksaw Ridge, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Lego Batman Movie, and many other films.

But the film that shook my world was Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. In the movie, Liam Neeson plays German businessman Oskar Schindler, who tries to profit from World War II by employing Jews. A non-violent member of the Nazi party, Schindler has no disdain for the Jews who work in his factory; he simply views them as employees. As Schindler witnesses the Nazi’s cruelty toward Jews, he begins to shield his employees from this brutality by making them “essential workers” in the factory. As tensions mount, Schindler spends his entire fortune buying his Jewish workers from Nazi camps and sending them to work at his factory in the Czech Republic. By 1945, Schindler had saved over one thousand Jews and kept them safe in this factory until the end of World War II.

Cinematically brilliant, the mostly black-and-white film gives the viewer a greater understanding of the atrocities of World War II. Schindler’s List is one of the saddest movies you will ever watch. As Schindler prepares to flee for his own safety, many of the Jews he has saved gather to express their gratitude. They give him a ring with a Hebrew inscription—“He who saves a single soul saves the world entire.”—and a letter stating that he is innocent. Still, Schindler confesses to Itzhak Stern, his Jewish accountant and right-hand man, that he “could have got more.” He realizes that he could have helped more people by selling more of his possessions or being wiser with his money; he could have done more. The scene is heartbreaking.

As the credits rolled, I laid my head against a pillow, thinking about the message of the film. Then it hit me: I could have done more. Having just graduated from high school, I recalled countless times I could have done more to share God’s love. I could have sat with someone who was alone at lunch. I could have befriended the new kid. I could have invited people to come to youth group. I have had so many opportunities to allow God’s Spirit to work through me, but most of the time I sat on my hands.

We are going to live this day only once. Let’s choose to reflect the love of Christ. Let’s count others as more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). The Spirit can use even the smallest hammer to break down the walls around a person’s heart and the most damaged chisel to construct a masterpiece.




When has your world been shaken by a movie you watched, a book you read, a work of art you saw, or a song you heard? What about it moved you to stop and take stock of your own life? How did it encourage you to love others and to live a life that reflects Christ?

Landen Swain , 20, is a college student from Forest, Virginia, who attends Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is a published poet and playwright and can beatbox on a harmonica.

—from devozine (January/February 2019). Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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