Yesterday a friend called and said he had been stung on the ring finger and his finger was swelling to the point that he needed his wedding ring cut off. He asked if we had a way to do that at the fire department. I told him I was pretty sure we did, but I could not remember the specifics. After contacting others with more knowledge than me, I was told where the tool was on the ambulance. I met the person there and was able to cut the ring off. I definitely learned a new skill for the ambulance. But then again I am always learning. It was a year ago Saturday that I found out I passed the National Registry test to become an EMT. One year into it I have learned and done a lot. But there are also a lot of things I have not done. I have not given epinephrine. I have not used some of the breathing and airway instruments. I know I have the training and those things are within my protocols, but I have yet to be in a position to need to implement those practices.
That makes me think about where I am in my journey as a follower of Jesus and as a pastor in His church. Wednesday will mark eight years to the day since I preached my first sermon at Wesley Chapel Short Gap. It will also be the beginning my 15th year as a pastor, my 9th year here. None have been tougher than the last year. As I take a quick survey looking back over the last 14 years it seems like I have been using the same basic tools. Like the tools I have not yet used on the ambulance, I know there are more that I have at my disposal, but have yet to utilize. I sense that it is going to be necessary to ask the Holy Spirit to do some maintenance on the old tools and teach me to use some new tools from His arsenal for the next few years. I know it is not going to get any easier, but I pray He continues to prepare and equip me for that which is to come. I pray the same for you.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ~ Galatians 5:22-23a