The emergency services have this incredible attitude where their call and their dedication to their duty of saving lives actually takes over and becomes their focus. Even when faced with incredible danger, they still put themselves and their own feelings to one side to risk their lives for the sake of other people. Wherever there is an emergency you see them doing the complete opposite of our natural instinct as human beings, you see them not running away but rather running into the danger. Much the same with the army in a war they pack up ready to fly straight into the conflict, saying good bye to their families not even knowing if they will return and risking their own lives for the sake of people. What’s even more amazing is that it’s often not even their own country and people they are defending or standing up for, but something in them seems to adopt the nation and people as their own. When everyone else is running away from danger or desperation, taking the attitude of ‘It’s not my problem’, there they go running into it head on, ready to face the unknown. What a picture; the crowds running away from the fire, the disaster or tragedy and yet just one or two walking straight into it. It’s amazing really.
I’ve been so challenged by this and feel it needs to be an attitude we as the church adopt. When someone is struggling our human nature seems not to be to run in but to run away. When everyone else is running in the opposite direction, running away from someone in their desperation or hour of need, we, the church, should be there running into it full of love, comfort & strength, full of Jesus! We need to be ready to take on the unknown, the mess, the chaos.
Derek Prince wrote “I also have this conviction that if the church would stop playing religious games inside religious buildings and go out and care for the people who really need their help, the church would grow exponentially, because those are the people that really need God. And they don’t know what goes on inside religious buildings. They don’t understand all that. They just know, ‘I’m hurting. Is there anybody who cares?”
I don’t believe this will be an easy step and in fact wont be a one time decision but rather a journey, a journey of continually choosing, starting with not just sitting in the church but actually being church. Actually being and doing what we are meant to do and who we are meant to be. Really we as the church are an emergency service, much like when disaster strikes people reach and call 999 or 911 (or whatever your nations emergency service number ) people should think I need the church. Its going to take a lot to break our preconceived ideas of church and even the world’s too. In a book I once read I remember the author wrote about a young street worker who was invited to church and her immediate response was, ‘why would I go there I already feel bad enough about myself?’ We need to be the church of Jesus Christ, we need to be a people that respond the way the emergency services do with ‘what’s your emergency, what’s your need, how can we help, how can we ease you pain, I’m here, you are not alone.’
A few weeks ago my husband and I were involved in car accident, a motorcyclist was hit by a car in front of us and he was thrown from his bike and landed on our car bonnet before rolling on the floor. I’m not medically trained in anyway and there wasn’t much I could do but I lay on the floor next to this man whom I’d never met and just talked to him and held his hand in his hour of need. I did nothing amazing, everyone I’m sure would do the same but I realised in that moment all that man needed was someone to sit with him in his crisis, in his pain, hold his hand and let him know he wasn’t alone. Sometimes we feel we can’t show people Jesus, we often leave it to the church leaders or those recognised with a call on their life but the truth is we are all called to love people, to be light in our communities and we can all make a difference. Don’t just wait for the Pastor to do it, you step up, step out and sit with someone in their hour of need. Choose today to be part of the emergency service and then everyday choose to be part of this. I’m utterly convinced with this attitude and with the Holy Spirit working through us we will see transformation in the lives of many and ultimately in our towns, cities and even nations.