Profession: Problem or Passion
As a firefighter we witness some of the most horrific tragedies that can often become permanently etched into our mind. We see the sadness of poverty in homelessness, drug addiction, and abuse in our daily calls for service.
We started our career off with vigor and passion inside of us that said “Stand back, the fire department is here and we are going to change your world!” but after several years of working long hours, frequent calls by our repeat customers, and the medical calls at 3 am for butt pain have calloused our hearts.
Take a long look in the mirror for a moment and ask yourself: Why do I come to work? Is it merely for the paycheck? Is it for some sense of self assurance? Now think back to your first day on the job as a firefighter. How different were you then? Did you have a different attitude? How has your outlook changed?
One word comes to mind: bitterness. Maybe you haven’t been poisoned by this but if you have I challenge you to read further. We often fall victim to letting the world and others steal our passion. The constant negativity and reminders of the cruelty of others is enough to cause most of us to throw in the towel. Do you complain more than you problem solve? Have politics and the challenges of leadership sapped your energy to try to do more? Do you dread certain areas that you respond to? Do you feel yourself tense up as you go to work? Do you go through the motions without any meaning behind them? If you answered yes, then you have fallen victim to the poison of bitterness.
Not too long ago, I fell victim to this poison. I even considered leaving the fire department. I would often ask myself “Does my service even matter anymore?” I went and heard a man speak by the name of Rick Lasky speak on Pride and Ownership. It was as if God told him to speak right to me. I felt renewed and energized but sadly this too faded. It was not till one day at the altar in my church where I cried out to God that I received my answer. You see I was relying on my own power and my own ability to sustain my calling. I wanted so bad to make a difference that it drove me over the edge when I failed. I felt that I no longer made a difference until I noticed some of my brothers around me struggling.
My friends, I want you to know this: You make a difference every day. Every day that you decide to smile in the face of adversity you will unknowingly lift someone else’s spirit. Every day you choose to serve the impoverished, the addict, the homeless with compassion and love you make a difference. Every day you choose to do the hard work of being honest instead of taking the easy way out you have sown a seed in another’s heart of what integrity truly means. Every day that you work out instead of lying on the couch and complaining you set the example. Every day that you read, train, and mentor others you make an impact on their future for the moment or for their lifetime. Every day that you bow your head and pray you show others that your allegiance goes to a higher calling than any badge can bestow. Every day that you take the time to listen to your brother who is struggling you show what it truly means to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2a). Every day that you refuse to fall victim to bitterness you will lead without even knowing.
Do not underestimate the power of your influence, your encouragement, and your compassion for others. When the world tells you that you can’t make a difference pick up a Bible and read. Read about all the men and women who faced insurmountable circumstances but God showed his mighty power through them. Read about Paul (a mentor), Barnabus (an encourager), and Timothy (a disciple). Surround yourself with individuals like these. Read about Jesus and how he loved in spite of circumstances and how he led in the face of adversity. Read about how he prayed with great anguish when he was dismayed. Read and see how He had compassion on the sick, the imprisoned, the homeless, the widow, and the orphan. Read about how He did all of this not for the world’s recognition but out of God’s great love for you.
If you want to make a difference, if you want to renew your passion, if you want to truly help others; welcome back to your calling. Call upon God and He will equip you with His Holy Spirit. He will give you the strength that you desire. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). And let your profession be your pulpit as “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 3:14)
Stay safe & God Bless
Andy J. Starnes