When I was in preschool, I wanted to be a firefighter.
Well, not exactly.
Actually, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would look at them, smile, and say in my little four-year-old voice, “I wanna be a firetruck!”
I remember one tragic day in my childhood, my mother had taken me over to the neighbor’s house. While I was there, the neighbor asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
“I wanna be a firetruck!”
She smiled, looked down at me from her seated position, and said, “You can’t be a firetruck.”
I was crushed.
My childhood dream ended that day. After, when people would ask, I would give the generic answers. Doctor. Lawyer. Something. Just not firetruck. But that tiny voice in the back of my head never went away, and eventually I did become a firefighter. In my life, I have only been involved with two fires—and only one as a firefighter. In both cases, I wasn’t even directly at or in the fire itself.
The first time, I was spending the day with my Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) and his son. That evening, we were going to sell fund raising tickets for the fire department where my ASM is a member. We never got to go. That afternoon, a fire call came over his pager. A severe barn fire in another county was requesting for additional manpower and apparatus. Company 30 sent several vehicles, but also sent their Canteen Truck, which is where I got to help. By the time we arrived at the scene of the fire, the barn had been burning for close to 6 hours. In the Canteen, we parked away from the scene, and set up to serve hot dogs and Gatorade to the firefighters who had been there awhile.
The next year, I became a firefighter. My second fire was in a neighboring township just before Christmas. They had a house fire and asked for our assistance. We brought two Engines, but only one helped at the scene. My Engine was assigned a different task. Due to the location of the fire, there was not a lot of water pressure and few available hydrants. We found a hydrant a few blocks over that we hooked up to. As the firefighters needed more water, they would drive their Tankers to our Engine, we would fill their tanks quickly from our reserve, then we could wait for our reserve to fill back up until the next Tanker arrived.
I was called a firefighter, yet fighting fires was the least time consuming part of my job. We assisted with automobile accidents. We helped during roof collapses (of which there were many during the Blizzard of 1993). I even took classes at the local college about hazardous material. A person could easily wonder why we are called firefighters when fighting fires is the smallest part of our job.
I think the reason we have the name is based not necessarily on what we do the most, but the most important part of our job.
I think Jesus is the same.
If we look at where he spends a large part of his time, we can find a number of tasks He does often. He speaks to us is many ways. Sometimes it is in the form of a burning bush, other times atop a mountain. He may speak to us through a song, another person, or His Book. With the number of people in the world, this takes a lot of time. But we don’t call Him Communicator. He listens to prayer and answers prayer. That job is 24-7-365. But we don’t call Him Prayer Answerer.
We do call Him many names, though. A good place to start might be the creation of the world. He spent only six days doing that. Yet, we call Him Creator.
Something that took less time was when He died, then rose again three days later. In three days (or two if you use modern counting conventions), He conquered death which allows eternal life for all those who would accept His free gift of salvation. He took only three days to make it possible for you and me to spend eternity with Him in heaven. In all things, this task took the least amount of time, yet it is the name he is most familiar to everyone...
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