We Can All Use Some Help

We Can All Use Some Help

Friday’s Column: Learning From Lehman

candela

Steve Candela

Fun fact about myself…  I would be a whole lot more comfortable running into a burning building than I am standing up here speaking.  But just like any situation on a fire ground, the job will get done. 

James 5:19 says,  “My Brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

There have been countless times in my life where help was not only desired or needed, but necessary.  As a Fireman I’d like to tell you that I’m made of iron, nothing can hurt me and I don’t need help from anyone, “I got this”. Problem is, this would be the furthest thing from the truth. In order to get the job done it takes a team. We have guys that fight fire, guys that search for victims, guys that drive the trucks, pump the water, we have guys in charge of the operational strategy, and so on.  We even have guys that their only job on a fireground is to go in and save a fellow firefighter in trouble if they get stuck, disoriented or hurt. This is called a RIT team.  We as Christians work in a similar fashion. Ok, so we don’t have the ranking system, but we all have duties. We all have jobs and responsibilities, right? 

Robert Muszynski was a fire chief in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. He had worked at multiple fire departments throughout his career but this is where he finally decided to retire in 2014 at the age of 58. I do not know specifically if he was a follower of Christ. I do, however, know of his dedication to his work and his firefighters. He was recognized several times in magazines and various fire department-related web articles for his encouraging quotes and respectable works in the fire service. I’d like to share with you a couple of his quotes and how I’ve related it not only to my job but my spiritual life as well. 

 Bob said, “Always stay hungry for the job, and you will never get full.” Complacency causes you to become bored, disengaged, and think that you know it all.  Keeping interest and staying engaged is very important.  You could say for us as Christians to always stay hungry for the word of God, read as often as you can and you’ll never get full. There is always more to learn from scripture. Create discussion among your friends or host a Bible study. Always Stay Hungry for the word. 

He also said, “Good firefighters will know their job. Great Firefighters will also know the job of the person above them as well as teach their job to the people below them.”  As an Engineer I am in between the ranks of firefighter and captain. I have a great relationship with my captain. He’s been a fantastic guide, teacher, mentor, and leader of our crew. I know his job and what it entails, and I strive to be in that position someday. As with the firefighters below me I try to be that role model that teaches them everything it takes to become an engineer and give them ample opportunities to come to me for guidance. A good Christian will know what it takes to be a good Christian, but is that where it stops? No. To be great Christians we need to be aware of what our elders and deacons have in the works. They do so much for us already; maybe there’s something you can help with? Take a task off their plate so they can work on the next important project. What about the people who need saving? You might not see yourself as a great teacher, but there is something inside every one of us that we have to offer to someone else. By creating conversation with our visitors you might reveal their needs. You could be the one to lead them to where they need to be and teach them something along the way. 

As hard as it is to admit, sometimes a Fireman can use a little help.  Christians can too.  Leading up to the scripture reading above, James has been talking to fellow believers in Christ, encouraging them to never give up faith. It’s so easy today for us to stumble and fall. We have people and priorities tugging and pulling us in every direction away from God. James knew this. He makes it clear that we are to help our fellow Christians who may wander from the truth and become worldly. It’s our job to help them get reconnected with God. Like addressing and correcting poor behavior in the firehouse this can be a difficult assignment. We need to be careful in how we complete this task so we don’t fall into the same sin or come across as too “high and mighty” (Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”) This means be tactful not attacking. Genuine love and care must be the tactic. 

Steve interviewed last year by NBC about the walk to honor firefighters who died on 9/11.
Is Your Life “Award Winning”?

Is Your Life “Award Winning”?

Neal Pollard

CBS News reports on 19-year-old Chris Strickland, a very ordinary young man who seems unaware of how heroic his split-second action was. In his first job, Chris, working at a Home Depot in Anchorage, Alaska, happened to turn around and face a shopping cart at the moment an unattended baby fell out of a baby seat sitting atop it.  Store surveillance video captures the whole thing, as Strickland rushes over and reaches out to catch the falling infant.  For this simple, profoundly important act, Strickland will receive the Home Depot Angel Award, “reserved for those who perform exceptional acts of heroism” (via http://www.cbsnews.com/news/quick-thinking-home-depot-employee-saves-falling-baby/).

If all goes well, some day that baby will grow up, maybe get married and have children, and, optimists might say, do some great thing—become president, save an entire burning building full of people, or, better yet, become a faithful Christian responsible for scores of folks getting to heaven.  No matter what happens with the child, it will not diminish the heroism of this young man who, at the right place and right time, chose to save another human being and one literally helpless.

In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul speaks of Christ giving an unequaled reward on the Judgment Day.  It will be for those heros and heroines who loved His coming and appearance, who fought, finished, and kept the faith (7).  In a parable about the Judgment, Jesus speaks of the award winning “sheep” who will enter heaven.  What did they do?  Cared for those who had needs.  James 1:12 speaks of a reward Christ will personally give to those who persevere under trial.

You didn’t consider yourself a “hero,” did you?  Passages like those above speak of how ordinary folks like us can receive the highest honor of all time and eternity.  How?  By faithful endurance, service, and response to Jesus, the Lord!  Congratulations!