Worthy of the Calling:
Many firefighters today, are very vocal about their dedication to their chosen profession. They write inspiring articles, give passionate speeches, and are at every training session/conference that they can attend. Yet in the pursuit of mastering our craft, many times we fall victim to becoming tactically proficient and relationally deficient. It is not uncommon to find a skilled, experienced, knowledgable firefighter who has become emotionally calloused and cold. But if we could take a step back and remember why we began this journey perhaps we would see where we have strayed from the path.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-5)
The very position we hold exists so that we may help others. This requires not only an skilled, dedicated, and knowledgable individual but a compassionate one. But many may not know that the very definition of compassion is to “suffer with.” This calling we have received goes much deeper than the powerful display of heroic acts of bravery. It goes even deeper than the support of one of our brothers during a crisis. It is by definition the daily moments of fellowship, counsel, struggles, and smalls acts of service that we give of ourselves to each other and to the citizens that we serve.
It is not about rank, role, or title. It is the very spirit of what we do. It is the calling of bearing one another’s burdens together. In fact, we accomplish nothing alone: whether it is attacking a fire, performing CPR, cutting a ventilation hole, or performing community service. Each and every day our service is just that:
It is a responsibility that is took on by the strong and capable shoulders of the firefighters together. Yet those strong and capable shoulders often conceal wounded souls. The trials, conflicts, and adversity we face are meant for us to collectively share the load. We are to help one another and look out for one another in every aspect of our lives. This is the mark of brotherhood, not just to carry each other through the fire but through the fires of our lives.
So let us ask ourselves, are we exemplifying this in our daily life?
Are we taking the time to care for others when its not convenient?
Have we grown bitter due to our circumstances?
Have we become cold and calloused as the years have worn us down?
The challenge that lies before us is no easy task. To be worthy of the calling we have received is to realize that we must care when no one else does. It requires a heart big enough to hurt with someone but not absorb their pain.
It requires one who cares nothing for recognition but would give everything for the benefit of another.
It requires a heart that has a love for their fellow man. It requires the love of Jesus Christ. For if we know Him in our hearts, we can offer a hope to a hurting world that no one else can. We can not only provide our skills but we can offer others our hearts. We can forgive others for we have been forgiven. For God tells us that “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19
May we allow God to remove our calloused heart of stone and give us a new compassionate heart that is big enough to hurt with the world yet not be destroyed by it. May we be courageous in sharing our hurts, our testimonies, and our pain thereby encouraging others that there is hope.
Let us change the environment around us and bring back brotherhood by our daily words, actions, and values. May we live a life worthy of the calling that we have received each and every day.
Andy J. Starnes