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Monday, May 16, 2005

The Firefighter Parable #1 – The Firehouse

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

- The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter Two, Verses 42-47

One of the identifying characteristics of a firefighter is that they live in a firehouse. Of course, they don’ t live there 24/7, but when they are on-duty and/or on-call (some on-call firefighters are also on-call at their homes). Still, they spend significant time there. It is the home base for all of their collective actions. It is where they are often notified of a fire most efficiently, since they are all present. Their presence in the firehouse makes their reaction time faster, communication better, and adds flexibility because of the availability of resources and other firefighters. Firefighters prepare to fight fires in the fire house, and after they have fought a fire, return to the firehouse to recuperate, heal, laugh away the stress, and get ready for the next call.

Clearly, to be an effective firefighter, one would have to be in the firehouse often. Most firefighters are there at times even when they are not on duty or on call, just because they are a tight community of people, who enjoy being around each other.

There are other people who are in the firehouse at times. Some are people who live or work near the firehouse, and like the company of the firemen, so they visit often. Some are people who respect the values of firefighters, and they stop by on special days that honor firefighters. Some are kids who run around, climb on the fire truck and chase the fire dog. The firefighters’ families and girlfriends or boyfriends are around a lot, too. There are even a few firefighter groupies, who wish they could be firefighters, but don’t want to go through the training or risk their lives. They hang around the firehouse and many of the friends of the groupies think that the groupies are, in fact, firefighters.

Therefore, there are two important facts relating to the discernment of firefighters and non-firefighters. First, firefighters spend significant time in the fire house. No one who is a firefighter would avoid the firehouse altogether or even only stop in for an hour a week. Second, everyone who spends time in a firehouse is not a firefighter. Many times, non-firefighters will outnumber the firefighters in the firehouse, particularly if it is a special event or the weather is nice (which encourages the locals to be out of doors and visit).

Similarly, there are two important facts regarding Christians and the church. First, Christians spend significant time with the church (I do not mean to insinuate it must occur at a location, but is a gathering of Christians), for reasons similar to those of the firefighters. No one who is a Christian would avoid the church altogether. Second, everyone who goes to church is not a Christian. Many times, non-Christians will even outnumber Christians in a church, especially if it is a holiday.


For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

- The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter Twenty, Verses 29-30

The relationship of the Christian to the church is worth getting right, and worth remembering when discerning who is, and who is not, a Christian.

2 Comments:

  • Hey Hammer, I have read your firefighter parables, all of them to date, and I really like them. You are doing what Jesus did to help people understand these principles. You got "the church" right brother! Many seem to get the impression that I am against church--my husband is a pastor, cop, and we have a network of house churches(I don't like to speak of that because I don't like titles...but I need to set the record straight). Church is biblical and we beleive the WHOLE Bible needs to be addressed like you said, not just the parts we like. I will be posting pretty soon on why some do not preach on the book of Acts or other books that they choose to leave out because they are not comfortable with them or they do not understand them...I'll look forward to reading the rest!

    By Blogger Teresa, at 5/17/2005 04:58:00 PM  

  • Teresa,
    I enjoyed your description of what a church is on your site. For everyone else, it is here. Awesome stuff!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 5/17/2005 10:47:00 PM  

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