A Practical Working Creed:
As firefighters, we often view our work from a different paradigm than most other professions. Many individuals view work as a curse or an unnecessary burden. Many of the personal problems of today can be traced back to individuals who are unhappy with their chosen profession. Yet those of us fortunate enough to be firefighters look upon our profession as a calling and not a career. This calling causes us to go above the minimum standards that the world requires.
What then sets our calling apart from the rest?
As firefighters, we give more than we receive as we have seen many sacrifice their very lives for the sake of others. We often look for opportunities to serve that are far above and beyond the mission of saving lives and property. This is exemplified when we see firefighters who finished cutting a citizen’s lawn after he was transported to the hospital, or those who bought a new football for a group of kids in their neighborhood who were playing with a worn out one, and when we see firefighters taking the time to excel in their knowledge, skills, and abilities to better serve their communities. Many firefighters pursue additional training off duty. They read, teach, volunteer, and help others not out of a desire for recognition but out of the desire to help others. In a sense, those who believe that firefighting is a calling are committed at a level that the world cannot understand.
So one must ask, what causes us to give of ourselves at such a level?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2)
Whether an individual believes in God or not, the calling in them will often be described as a passionate one. Passion can be described as an unshakable drive from within us to make a difference in the world around us. Thus our passion often leads to our purpose.
If our passion leads to our purpose, who has placed this passion within our hearts? How does one explain the unshakable desire to serve others, to make a difference, and to serve others in their moments of crisis?
What if the drive that is within us, this passionate purpose, is more than our heartfelt service to our fellow man? What if the very purpose of this calling is for us to be a tangible example of Jesus Christ to others through our servant leadership? What if our purpose is to lead others to Christ?
Consider the life of Jesus for a moment:
He came not to be served but to serve. The very son of God humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant. He went and sought out those in need. He feed them, healed them, comforted them, raised the dead, taught and forgave them. Yet He came to His own and His own refused to receive Him.
In Matthew 9:35-38 we see the example of Christ and His love for us. “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Have we considered that the calling within us, this passionate drive, is God calling to our hearts: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Will we be one of the few? Many believe that the fire service is a spiritual detriment but in fact it is truly a spiritual opportunity. It is a tremendous mission field in which we can serve our fellow man, we can touch the hearts of the broken, and we can minister to one another. Without ever speaking a word, we can share the love of Christ with another through our heartfelt compassionate care. With our exemplary work ethic we can show others that our drive to become better is out of a greater love that is within us for our God and for our families. This calling is a practical working creed that is bestowed upon our hearts as we are predestined for good works:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Our drive to not become complacent in our work ethic comes from our desire to please our one and true commander in Chief:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
And the very fires we fight, the lives we save, are reflections of the gratitude within us for Christ has saved us. The living sacrifice we make, the service we give, and the compassion we show are living sermons for the world to read.
“Remember the sermons we live are more powerful than the ones we simply preach. People don’t look at what we say, they examine what we do!” Pastor David Chadwick.
Work as if you were working for the Lord. Realize that the greatest recognition we could ever receive is to hear the words “well done my good & faithful servant.” The marks we carve are not on stone but on the hearts of those we are blessed to lead & watch over.
Andy J. Starnes