“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12
As firefighters we possess an amazing tenacity to innovate, strategize, and produce when others fail. Yet in the midst of our fiery passion for the calling that we love many of us will over-focus on our beloved fire service while diminishing our roles at home.
We will train, we will travel, we will teach but at the end of the day how much time and energy are we pouring into our families?
A startling fact that may upset many reading this is that the future of the fire service is not solely dependent upon you. However the future of your household and those that you love is completely dependent on you!
Jesus said “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Matthew 16:26
This is not to say that we shouldn’t pour our passion into the fire service; in fact its quite the opposite. One who understands their foundation and prioritizes accordingly will not only ‘fan the flames of the gift of God’ in their families but will ignite the fire within all that they encounter.
It begins with each of us looking at our hearts and reflecting upon this question:
Am I a firefighter first? or a Husband, and a Father, and then a Firefighter?
“Our passion for the fire service ought to be based upon our greater passion for our loved ones at home. This will not only make us a better firefighter but help keep our priorities in order.” (Andy Starnes)
God has placed a passion within each of us. This passion will lead us to our purpose but let us not let our passion create a tunnel vision that blocks out our families from our sight and ultimately our lives.
Each of us will one day have to hang up our helmet. Each of us will retire and tell stories of our past lives. The difference will be:
Will we sit alone in a rocking chair because we have saved the world and lost our soul?
Will we sit surrounded by loved ones who respect us for who we are and the difference we have made in their lives?
The choice is ours, let us serve our fellow man boldly and bravely but not lose focus that everyone eventually goes home, will our family be there waiting for us?
The Fire Service needs each of us to be there for our families. Let us not abandon them in the pursuit of saving others. May we wrap our arms around them, lead them, and guide them as we serve. In this way, not only do we fulfill our calling but we bring our worlds together: Our faith, Our family, and Our fire service.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries