Defining Your Duty

Firefighters in Baytown, Texas were called to a home where a man was out mowing his yard and suffered a heart attack. After paramedics took he, along with his wife, to the hospital, the first responders decided to return and finish up the man’s lawn. They then put the lawnmower away, locked up his garage, and left a note of encouragement for his wife. The note ended with, “Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you out.”

Whether they realized it at the time or not, unfortunately the man did not survive, so these firemen were doing an act of service for a widow.

But what if the firefighter who first brought up the idea of going back to the house to finish the yard had been met with a response of, “Are you crazy, man? We aren’t a lawn service. We’re firefighters! That’s not our job. Let her call a lawn service.”

The reason this didn’t happen is this particular group of men have a much broader vision of who they are; they see themselves as public servants. Yes, of course, they do their jobs of fighting fires and rescuing people, but they see a bigger picture of what they can accomplish.

There is an old joke about a maid telling her new employer she would do whatever was needed to clean the house immaculately. When the employer went through the list of what the lady was expected to do, she ended with, “And you’ll need to clean all the windows every week.” The maid quipped back: “I don’t do windows!” To which the bossresponded, “I thought you said you’d do whatever it took to do the job?” Again the maidshot back: “I will. But I don’t do windows!” People have used this phrase for decades and inserted whatever it is that they refuse to do on any list—I will, but I don’t do                     .

Consider these:

What if Noah had said, “I don’t do arks.”

What if Moses had said, “I don’t do seas.”

What if Mary had said, “I don’t do births.”

What if Mary Magdalene had said, “I don’t do feet.”

What if Peter had said, “I don’t do Gentiles.”

What if Paul had said, “I don’t do letters.”

And what if Jesus had said, “I don’t do crosses.”

As sons and servants of the Lord Jesus, we must be very careful what we put on our list of what we won’t do—and then ask ourselves how we could even have a list at all, because of what He has done for us.

Way to go—Baton Fire Department, Station 4, A-shift in Baytown, Texas! Thanks for being good news in a bad news world. May your example spread and your tribe increase!

*And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.” —Jesus in Luke 17:10 CEV

*(One of those tough verses you’ll never see on a t-shirt or on one of those decorative plaques at the Christian bookstore, because it’s one of the tough ones about what our job as believers truly is all about.)

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