Serve & Protect

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care
serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing
as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it
over those entrusted to but being examples to the flock.

-1 Peter 5:2-3
RECENTLY I WAS INVITED TO BECOME A PART of a team of pastors serving as chaplains for the
Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District and The Hillsboro Police Department.  My responsibilities as a part of that team include being available to encourage and assist our community’s first responders in any way possible, especially in regard to spiritual and emotional support in times of intense trial or crisis. 

We are also to be available to give spiritual and emotional aid to the victims of incidents involving loss and crisis, if there is need and willingness to receive it.

I am the volunteer chaplain on duty this week and I have chosen as a part of my “on call” responsibility to spend the afternoons at the fire station getting to know the men and women who so faithfully serve our community as first responders to crisis situations, even at risk to their own lives.   I have been invited to ride along on calls and learn as much about the business of fire and rescue as I am interested in learning and to become friends and comrades of those who serve us.

On Monday I rode with one of the squads, responding to 3 calls.  When we returned to the station, several of the servicemen on duty were busy cleaning one of the firetrucks, including the hand tools and taking inventory of the truck’s onboard equipment.

Earlier, one of the Lieutenants on duty got the tower truck out for inspection and in-service training.  After asking me if I was afraid of heights, he invited me to take a journey up in the tower.  I eagerly accepted and I was treated to a spectacular experience and view of the town. 

While in my position high above our little city I thought of all the people who lived below in the tiny shelters we call our homes—thousands of lives that our service men and women oversee.  They are here to serve and protect—to know their business and their equipment and how to use it.  How grateful I am for what they do at risk to their own safety.  Theirs is often a thankless job, but they serve us willingly, nonetheless.

I couldn’t help thinking in that moment of the men who serve our congregation as elders/overseers.  Their job, along with my own, is to serve and protect; to be first responders in times of need and crisis; to know their business and their equipment (the Word of God) and how to use it.  How grateful I am for them and for what they do.  Theirs is often a thankless job, but they serve us, nonetheless.

But for every individual who wears the name of Christ, there is a responsibility to the world around us—to serve and protect.  Our community, our nation and our world are in turmoil and crisis.  Men and women everywhere are in peril.  The fires of hell threaten to destroy and consume. God has sounded the alarm.  As His children we are to respond on a rescue mission for any and all who will receive our help.  In order for us to be effective at what we have been called to do, we must be in constant training; we must take inventory regularly; we must keep our minds and our skills sharp, becoming ever more capable of using wisely and effectively the tools and equipment of our calling

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
  Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
  Back to the narrow way, patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

-Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)