I feel it’s time to acknowledge and appreciate First Responders. I am not speaking of the hospital workers, fire department personnel, nor the police officers. Each of these fields are important and greatly valued and indeed are first responders to the medical, safety, and life-threatening episodes of our lives. I’m calling attention to First Responders known as Pastors.
Pastors are selected and gifted to serve their congregations and the global community. Pastors are selected by God and gifted by the Holy Spirit. They are accountable to God Almighty for adherence to His Word, Jesus Christ for submission in following His example of sacrifice and suffering, and the Holy Spirit for obedience to His leading. It is a Pastors calling to remain devoted to scripture, continuing to learn how to serve others in the vicissitudes of life.
Pastors are the ones who sit with you beside the bedside of your loved ones, gently praying as they take their last breath. It doesn’t matter who the person is, whether they were a member of the congregation or not, Pastors respond because the dying person is special to you.
I have a family member who doesn’t wish to be called after her bedtime especially in cases of death. Her exact words are “Don’t call and wake me up. They will still be dead tomorrow when I’m awake. Call me then.”Even though there is a bit of humor and truth in her statement, Pastors respond to your crises without hesitation and always with humility and gentleness. It is not in their “job description” to respond, but no matter how many times nor whatever time it may be, early morning, late at night, or middle of a meal with their own family, it is the Pastor who responds to represent the spiritual presence of God.
Pastors are the ones who respond in times of trauma. Pastors respond to the call as obedient shepherds. I know a Pastor who received a call about a young man who had been in counsel with him for an addiction. This Pastor was in the middle of preparing dinner for the family, but quickly rushed out of the house to respond to this cry for help. Upon arrival, the police had surrounded the property. The Pastor asked the police if it were possible to speak with the young man and they agreed but it had to be over the megaphone inside their car. The Pastor convinced the young man to toss out his weapons and allow the officers to enter. The police exercised caution by entering first and making sure the area was safe, then escorted the Pastor into the house. After lots of conversation and prayer, the young man was carried to the hospital and admitted on a 51/50. Today, 28 years later the young man lives a healthy life with his family working daily as a law-abiding citizen. Shortly after the Pastor returned home, physically tired and emotionally exhausted, another call from a family traumitzed because of the lack of food prompted the Pastor to respond with food and groceries.
Pastors are the ones who wake up in the middle of the night in response to a domestic dispute between spouses. Pastors are available for counseling families anytime, but very rarely are they called upon…until it’s almost over and the tensions are extremely volatile. At that point it’s a, “You and God need to fix this” situation. Imagine a visit to your family physician after refusing to take the medication prescribed but after the sickness begins to get worse and worse telling the doctor, “Ok, heal me right now.” Yet and still, because marriages and family are so important to the Kingdom of God, Pastors respond by seeking resources both physical and spiritual to assist families in crisis and make themselves available for future counseling to ensure godly values are properly instilled for the future.
It is proven scientifically that public servants often carry the burden of their profession for days, weeks, months, even years after the event. Doctors and nurses carry the burden of medical decisions. Firemen carry the burden of decisions impacting the destruction of property and often life, many times wishing they could have done more. Police officers carry the burden for decisions of investigations of unsolved crimes.
And so it is with Pastors who carry the burdens of others and the decisions they make which go against the teachings of God’s word. In the TV series “Star Trek” when the Captain faces a crisis, he is caught between two voices…Spock (Logic) and ‘Bones’ (Humanity). Yet the final decision is always up to the Captain. In the same way, Pastors often wrestle between Biblical authority and Human expectations. Pastors must ultimately use the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for a decision of truth and righteousness. And at the end of the day, Pastors find satisfaction in the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Pastors, the First Responders, we salute you.