How should Christians respond in blessing those who serve us? What does the Bible say about paying homage to our firefighters, police officer, militarys and others in these selfless careers?
Police officers and firefighters have a tough job. They are often the first responders to horrific scenes. They literally put their lives on the line every day to serve their communities and to keep people safe. They are in positions of authority, yet they are servants.
When you think about someone in authority, someone who serves the community is not usually the first picture that comes to mind. It’s almost a conundrum, a puzzlement or conflict of terms. Yet, those who serve the community live out the words of Jesus as they go about their daily work:
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. —Matthew 23:11, KJV
In the Gospel of Mark and again in John, He speaks similar words. Jesus talks about laying down your life, paralleling the ultimate sacrifice that He was about to make on the cross. He was also describing the selfless lifestyle of love that He was training His followers to embrace:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13, KJV
If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. —Mark 9:35b, KJV
Though they choose to pursue their work profession, these men and women who serve the community from a place of authority are not there by happenstance. The Apostle Paul speaks about those in a position of authority:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. —Romans 13:1, KJV
He doesn’t stop there. The Apostle Paul goes on to describe how godly men and women are to respond to those in a position of authority:
For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. —Romans 13:5b-7, KJV
In addition to being a servant in a position of authority, these men and women are peacemakers. Those who walk into a life-threatening or even a merely potentially stressful situation and infuse peace into the lives of others are called peacemakers.
As part of their sworn oath, police officers promise to keep the peace. Firefighters restore tumultuous scenes back into peaceful, safe places. Our military swears to protect us with their very lives, as do the former two.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. —Matthew 5:9, KJV
Since these men and women are peacemakers and servants in a position of authority, it is appropriate that they receive honor. Many churches set aside a special day once a year where they call attention to their acts of bravery and their servitude to the community.
These special services sometimes simply have community servant members stand to receive recognition. Other services include prayer for their safety and thankfulness to God for their willingness to serve. They may also provide a dinner, flowers or a wall of honor where their names are displayed so church members will remember to pray for them when they see their names posted on the wall. Sometimes a family member will commission special bricks or benches with the name of a fallen officer or other community servant.
Regardless of whether your church holds special services of honor, as an individual you can pay homage to community servants by thanking them personally; or simply by being being an upstanding citizen..