“I will rescue my flock....” —Ezekiel 34:10 (niv)
I met Pastor John in 1994. We had both joined Animas Fire Department, so I knew him as a friend before I began attending his church. One of our first calls was a mobile home on fire. When we arrived at the scene, there was some residual smoke but no flames. The fire started near a gas hot-water heater and melted a copper fitting on one of the water pipes. The resulting leak put out the fire.
Several veteran firefighters clapped me on the back and said, “Don’t worry, Tim. You can put out the next one.” It felt good to belong, to be with my new friends. We rolled up the hose lines and put away our air packs.
Most men, full of unspent adrenaline and gathered around a fire truck, do not readily take notice of other people. But John is not like most men. He had taken off his helmet and was talking to a young child. “Were you scared?” he asked the little boy. The child didn’t say anything, but he buried his head in John’s gear and cried.
I never forgot that lesson. A church is not that different from a fire department. It’s easy to fall into conversation with friends and ignore those people who aren’t familiar, but now I do my best to seek out and comfort those who might be lonely or hurting or scared.
Thank You, God, for giving me a pastor and a friend to light my way.
Written by Tim Williams
Digging Deeper: Jn13:34–35; Rom12:10; Gal 6:2
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