I always wanted to ride on the back of a fire engine. In fact, I wanted to be a fireman when I grew-up. The fireman dream was energized when on a warm Sunday afternoon I would hear the fire truck coming down our street in York, PA. I’d run to the front window of my parents’ bedroom, admiring the bright lights flashing, shinny red paint job, sparkling chrome, ear-piercing siren, and two dozen kids on the back waving and having the time of their life. Oh, how I wished I could be one of them, but it could never happen.
Sunday was considered the Sabbath in the preacher’s house—a day of rest. Church was a major event with Sunday School, morning and evening services and, when we got older, youth group before the evening service. After a roast beef dinner for lunch, the afternoon was reserved for being quiet in our rooms and taking a nap. Perhaps this was so that my parents could have a break from their four children. This was in the early 60s and TV was a new thing for us. My folks had a small one in their bedroom. But no TV for us on Sunday. My dad, on the other hand and unbeknownst to us at the time—although I had heard rumors—would lay in bed in the afternoon during football season, watching a game. Having been drafted to play for the New York Giants, but becoming a preacher instead, the draw to watch was just too much even for a devout servant of God. He’d close the blinds of the second story parsonage bedroom (like anyone would see it anyway), set the volume low, and dream of what could have been.
My dreams of standing on the back of a fire truck, were never realized either. They faded as the truck with the screaming kids continued down Duke street, out–of–sight and sound and mind.
Needless to say, I’ve never been on a fire truck. And it’s no longer a desire or on my bucket list. I’d have to remove my hearing aides as the muffler-less vehicle would roar down the road and it’s probably too bumpy a ride. Not to mention the fact that with my knees, I’m not sure I could step up high enough to get on.
Interesting how our priorities and goals change as we get older. But one priority for Christians should never change. We were invited to follow Jesus when He called us to Himself. But that “following” did not end with our salvation. No, no, it continues throughout all of our life.
Before Jesus ascended into Heaven and after the Holy Spirit had opened the eyes and minds of the Disciples so that they completely understood what was going on, Jesus met with them by the Sea of Galilee. Various things happened, like a great haul of fish, breakfast on the beach, reinstatement of Peter to his leadership role and then a slight rebuke of Peter. Jesus foretold what would happen to Peter in the future and he looked back at John and said something like: “What about him?” Jesus basically said: “Don’t worry about him, you follow me.” Wait, weren’t they already followers of Jesus? Yes. But following Jesus is an ongoing, every year, every week, every day, 24-7-365 proposition. It’s a goal that never changes. Tragically, too many Christians do not realize this. They’ve got their eternal fire insurance and they think they’re good. That’s not what a true follower of Jesus is.
I may never get that ride on the fire truck, but I’m on the glory train, following Jesus every mile.
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