First Responders – Called to Serve

Peninsula Community Church

First Responders – Called to Serve

June 28, 2015

Good morning to all that are here today. Today, we celebrate those within our community that have given themselves tirelessly to serve and protect each of us. Today, we have representatives from the various first responders represented in our communities (Selbyville Fire Department and Sussex County Emergence Services). Over the last couple of years and specifically over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to experience what these servants go through every day. From the Paramedics and EMTs who respond to that call when you are sick, having difficulty breathing, or having cardiac arrest to the fire fighter who responds when there is a fire or car accident to the police officer who risks his life each day to protect us every day, these men and women are truly servants. In my short filled career as a volunteer chaplain for the paramedics and doing the ride-a-longs, I have witnessed the professionalism of those who get that call and who respond at a moments notice. I have been on the paramedic truck when they have received 7 or 8 back-to-back calls in a 12 hour shift and you don’t have time to grab lunch or a take a break. I have been on the truck when you have experienced that call for the drowning, the cardiac arrest, or the 9 month old baby that is not breathing.

In the last few months, I have begun to serve the Selbyville Fire Department as an associate member. Through the fire department I have witnessed the call that goes out that could be 1 or 2 in the afternoon or 1 or 2 in the morning but you respond faithfully and professionally. As with the paramedics and the EMTs, I have witnessed the calls to the frequent flyer who is looking for their drug fix or they are lonely and want someone to respond. I have witnessed the patient who is more than grateful and sorrowful that they got you up to come help them. And I have seen those who are belligerent and nasty in their approach to you providing them a needed service.

As a church, we thank you for serving us so well. You are truly all servants of the community. Webster’s dictionary define’s a servant as one who is devoted to or guided by something! We all thank you this morning for being devoted to serve this community whenever you are called. We thank you because you serve us all equally based on the need and not the individual who is being served.

As we consider servanthood, we remember that the Bible has much to say about being a servant. We are also reminded that Jesus was considered the greatest servant of all. Listen to these words. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:25-28).

When we think of the First responders we think of those who are servants. In my opinion, First Responders epitomize servanthood. As I thought about this idea of servanthood, I thought of specify qualities that define what servanthood is all about. These qualities include but are not limited to the following. First Responders are courageous. First Responders are flexible. First Responders are faithful and dedicated to what they do. And finally First Responders  are selfless, they put others first. Let’s take a brief moment and define these.

Let us look at the fact that First Responders are courageous. We have heard it said that First Responders run in when others are running out. They respond when the call goes out for a “shots fired” or “building on fire.” To define the term courageous we might use words such as brave, fearless, heroic, bold, daring, and gutsy.

As we look at this idea of courage too often we think of courage as not having any fear but real courage is not a lack of fear but it is fear in control. Nelson Mandel has stated “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Ralph Waldo Emerson stated A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. Here is a fact, First Responders push beyond the fear and respond with courage when others would shrink away. Thank you for your courage.

Secondly, First Responders are always ready. Being a First Responder is never convenient as they do not choose the hour or the event that needs a response. No matter the hour of day or the time of night the First Responder is ready to respond. They may have just sat to eat their lunch or dinner when a call goes out. First Responders are always ready for action whether it is a cardiac arrest, a drowning, the frequent flyer, a car accident, a house fire, or an emergency call where no one knows for sure what is happening. What many do not know is that First Responders are always learning and expanding their skills. Why? It is so they can be the best they can be at what they do and so they will always be ready to respond at any time. First Responders are always ready. And for that we say thank you.

Thirdly, First Responders are faithful and they are dedicated to the cause they are called to. Whether it is a call at 2 in the afternoon or 2 in morning they respond. It might be the same person you have transported a hundred times but you respond because you are faithful and you are dedicated to your calling. You treat each one with respect and you provide the same care to all. You remain dedicated even when you don’t always receive the thanks you should. You are dedicated even when you are chasing down the report of a power line that is down and you have to search for it in the pouring rain only to find that there is no wire down and you have been driving up and down the road looking for the wire. Thank you for being faithful and dedicated to your job.

Fourthly, first responders are selfless. Not only are First Responders courageous, not only are they always ready, not only are they always faithful to the task but they are also selfless. They give of themselves when they are tired and when they are exhausted. They will leave their dinner at the table or they are awakened from their sleep to respond to a call. Most of those who respond in times of need are volunteers. They do not get paid for what they do but they still do it because they live a selfless life and give of yourself so others can they live and have life. We thank you for that.

As we look at the First Responder, we see that in many ways First Responders model the life of Christ. It is my belief First Responders are often the hand of God extended to those who are in need. As we consider that, I am reminded that Christ was also courageous. We do not always think of Christ as being courageous, but He was willing to leave the glory of heaven to become a man here on earth. He came so that He would face all of the temptation and anxiety that we face each day. He took these things on so that he could understand our life and have a human perspective about this life. The only difference between Christ and mankind is that he faced these things without sin. Christ was courageous when he stood His ground and He faced the enemy and won. He ran in when others ran away. He was courageous as he took that journey to the cross. He was courageous when he gave himself for us that we could live this life free from our past and our past wrongs. A second point here is that he is not only courageous but He brings courage to those in despair and who have lost hope. Have you lost hope today? I suggest that you turn to the one who is courageous and fights for you.

Secondly, Christ is always ready. Throughout scripture, we find that the Bible tells us that God never leaves us nor does He forsake us. He is always ready to bring hope and life to us even when we are despondent and discouraged. The Bible tells us that if we draw near to Him that He will draw near to us. When we are in need, He is alway ready to respond to our need. Just as an EMT or Paramedic responds to every call, Jesus Himself responds to our cry for help. That is what we call prayer. No call is minimized. Christ is always ready to respond when we place that call to him by way of prayer. We call and He answers because He is always ready.

Thirdly, Christ is always faithful and dedicated. Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope (Hebrews 3:5-6). God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthian 6:9). If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Here is the beauty of Christ. Even if we lose faith in Him or in our circumstances, He never loses faith or hope in us. He remains faithful. He is dedicated to all that follow Him. Here is a key point that we must understand. There is nothing you can do that would cause Christ to not love you or not respond to you. There is so much in life to destroy our faith and diminish our hope but with Christ we can rest assured that He is faithful to us. He does not leave us nor does He reject us. He always loves us. He is dedicated to us and he is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness when we call on his name. There is no need too great or no need too small that He is not interested.

Fourthly, Christ was selfless. Paul grasped this better than most. when he stated, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:3-8).

He left heaven to come as a man! He came to give himself freely and selflessly for us. Jesus came as the ultimate servant. He came to serve us so we could understand how to truly live. The scripture here tells us that he emptied himself and was willing to die to save others. That is the greatest of all selfless acts possible. To give oneself so another could live that is the greatest act of selflessness known to man.

We have seen this morning that First Responders are courageous, always ready, they are dedicated, and they are selfless. We have seen that Christ is courageous, always ready, dedicated to us and has proven himself to be selfless. So how do you respond to Christ? First of all, do you live courageously? Do we live life to the fullest? Do we stand for truth? You may not be fighting a fire or answering a call to the police but we all have issues in our life that requires us to respond with courage and strength.

Secondly, do you live in an attitude of readiness? Are you ready to serve others. Are you ready to be engaged in life with a cause? The call you receive may not be to a house fire or to shots fired but we all have the opportunity to the live for God. Are you ready?

Thirdly, do you live as one that is faithful and dedicated? Are you faithful to the task you have been called to whether that is work, family, or where you volunteer? And fourthly, do you live a selfless life? Is your life all about you or is about others and understanding what helping others is all about.

Let us pray!

For an audio of this message go to

Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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