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Why do we do what we do? Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
I don't know how many times I have heard that question uttered during my 38 years behind the badge. In fact I heard the same question asked, I don't know how many times, during my 30 plus years in the Marines as well. Most of the time it it was asked on the heels of someone completing a difficult or particularly arduous task and receiving the usual lack of enthusiastic appreciation. Sometimes this is a harbinger of even more devastating behavior. The next questions asked are usually framed so that the answers will increase our perceived contribution and our self-worth while minimizing the actions, dignity and efforts of others. If this sounds like a recipe for pride, it is! and remember what Proverbs says about what follows Pride. Have you ever wondered how this behavior overlaps into our "Christian witness"? Read on McDuff, Read on...

Because We Care...
It is not a job... It is a way of life!
The answer to that oft' uttered question can reveal a great deal about a persons true motivating characteristics. It makes no difference ifwe are addressing that person's occupational or spiritual issues. What is it that drives our desires, needs, wants or actions? Is it responsibility, obligation (duty) or fear or is it enthusiasm, excitement or satisfaction?

When I was a rookie I often responded to this inquiry without thinking, a not uncommon act for most of us in uniform; we are so well trained we tend to react emotionally, instinctively or intuitively rather than thoughtfully or intellectually. My initial responses generally included such reasons as because we can, because of the excitement, or the proverbial because somebody has to do it. What I eventually became confident enough to say was a bit more honest. It came out like this, because I am very good at what I do and I love my work and I really am helping some of those people I encounter, whether they seem thankful or not.

Working at a job you really don't love and feel some passion for is not only difficult but it is far from satisfying, especially when you feel nobody appreciates the sacrifices you make on their behalf. When you are experiencing that attitude toward what you are doing, life can be miserable. I guess that could have been how Jesus felt, if it weren't for the fact that He was God and therefore He even participated in the development of the overall plan for the redemption of mankind. So when you are starting to feel like the only reason to do your job for those thankless citizens is out of a sense of duty remember Christ came unto His own and His own received Him not. Isn't that how we see the general population reacting to our presence?

I can't think of a great deal of positive response to the actions of our Lord as recorded in the Bible. Oh don't get me wrong it is there just like the respect and appreciation for what good we do is there, it is just not as obvious as the negative reactions. That is why there is so much reinforcement required. Remember the "Highway to Hell" is a 6 lane freeway while the "Pathway to Heaven" is an equivalent "rabbit trail".

Lets look at the spiritual implications of this philosophy for a moment. Why do we who know Christ serve Him, why do we attend church worship services, and why do we spend so much time seeking a relationship with Him? Is it out of some misplaced sense of duty, a desire to fit the image of a good Christian or is it because we truly want to exhibit our thankfulness and to praise and worship God as we seek to develop our personal relationship with Him.

If your dedication to your job or God is out of fear, obligation or a sense of duty, then your motivation is most likely law driven and is works based. Many people who start out in our professions of arms fall into this category, they never really develop an understanding or relationship with the job and many fall by the wayside, eventually ending their enlistments or seeking other employment. Since our salvation is based on faith and not works, a Christian life or a professional life built on this works and law type of a foundation is built on a sandy and shifting soil and is doomed to destruction.

On the other hand, if you can hardly wait to get to work and you really like the job and the folks you work with and you are not put off by the apparent lack of appreciation for what you do, then your relationship to work is probably based on service and compassion for the down trodden and is like a spiritul relationship with God that is based on love, grace and faith. Christians like these can hardly wait to get to worship services and look for any opportunity to praise The Lord. They realize the best life is yet to come. In fact they consider everyday and opportunity to display the love of Christ to others in everything they do.

One way to test this premise is to do a quick self-examination of your Career and Christian motivation. Doing so will help you establish your spiritual "10-20" and let you know if you are you on the Scenic Highway to Heaven or flying down the Highway to Hell?

How do you feel about the folks you work with? I mean your peers and the citizens. How many of them do you think share your same feelings about your job or your theology? Are you willing to share with them your feelings about God as easily as you share your feelings about the job and the administration? Why or why not? Do you seek to grow spiritually as readily as you seek to grow professionally? Do you find your identity in being a Christian or a cop (a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine for those readers from the services)? When others first meet you do they see a Christian or do they detect your profession as your identity? In which role are you perceived by your family? In short I am asking you to inspect your life under the microscope of the Bible.

If you come up a bit short, don't despair. Remember the advice of John in the 13th chapter of Revelations. In the language of today it sounds like this, when tempted to throw in the towel, remember you can't be a leader without a towel.

Before I bring this to a close, I want to tell you why I think we do this job. At least I know now it is why I do this job. God ordained me to do it. I will tell you honestly I never wanted to be a cop as a kid. Unless you count the times we played cowboys and Indians and I wanted to always be an Arizona Ranger (sorry Texas) because I really liked that T.V. show. No, I always saw myself as being a U.S. Marine for my entire professional life. But after ignoring Gods prompting numerous times to change professions after some 10 years of the Marines, God found a way to reach through my density and He had the Marines tell me I was going to be an M.P. Thus ended the conflict.

I had my plans but God lead my footsteps. He allowed me an additional 23 years of active reserve time and 10 years of inactive reserve time while training me and using me to do His will on the streets and in the schools of various jurisdictions foe more than 38 years now.

I am going to close this by telling you what my pastor does every Sunday. He holds the Bible up in his right hand and tells us that the Bible is packed with truth, because it has God for its author, Salvation for its end and therefore we can have everything it promises and be whatever it says we can be. I like to think of it this way Since it has God for its author, I can be whatever He wants me to be, if I just stop fighting Him long enough for Him to mold me into whatever He needs me to be.

I am sure glad I listened to Him and that He needed me to be one of His Christian Centurions, How about you?

If you are still looking for that something in your life that seems to be missing, try talking to God. He is always available and waiting to respond to every need in your life, but Christ is not a "Door-Kicker", He quietly stands at the door and knocks and waits for you to invite Him into your life. So when you come to grips with the fact that you like me and every other person on earth are a sinner and cannot work your way into heaven, ask Him to wash you in the precious blood He shed for the redemption of all mankind at Calvary and live for Him daily as you enjoy the profession you were ordained to excel in from the beginning of time.

God Bless you all

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