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January 9, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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Jesus tells us that the greatest expression of love is a willingness to sacrifice for another. And for God, this was more than just words. In fact, in John 15:12–14 (ESV), He tells the disciples, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” For Jesus, these weren’t just words; He put them into practice on the cross when He sacrificed Himself so that we could experience freedom, redemption, and spend eternity with Him! His love for us compelled Him to make the ultimate sacrifice, because He desires a relationship with us. And He calls us to love others with the same kind of sacrificial love.
All throughout His ministry, Jesus spoke of sacrifice. From teaching us to go the extra mile with someone, to calling His disciples to leave everything behind and follow Him, to declaring that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Jesus made it clear that God desires and honors sacrifice in His children.
The brave men and women who put on a uniform to protect and serve their community, city, and country are living out this command every single day. These brave public servants have sacrificed tremendously for our freedom, some even laying down their lives. Their decision to protect and serve, to uphold our God-given right to liberty and justice, to keep us safe, is without a doubt an honorable expression of love, worthy of praise and recognition.
Some wonder what gives our public servants the courage to step out onto the battlefield, to rush to the scene of a crime in progress, or to run into a burning building. What fuels them to put their lives at risk for the safety of another?
Michael is a 2008 graduate of Calvary Christian Academy. After college, he was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months with the Army. After his tour, he returned to the US, where he now serves with a local police department and the Army reserves. Here, Michael shares his unique perspective on public service.
I guess it’s a sense of service. That’s the only way I can describe what drew me first into active duty with the Army and now into the Army reserves and law enforcement with a local police department. People ask about the danger all the time. When I was in Afghanistan, I was on route clearance, so we were responsible for clearing IEDs (improvised explosive devices). I was responsible for a smooth execution of the mission and, ultimately, for the safety of my thirty-seven men. Before each mission, whoever wanted to would come together to pray. I saw an incredible bond form between the men, and the couple of times I forgot to pray, they reminded me. God’s hand was on our unit and we didn’t lose anyone.
As a police officer, I wear a different uniform, but I’m still here to help those in need. I don’t think about the danger as much as I do about those I serve. I’m focused on what I can give back to my community and my fellow officers. You don’t take a job like this for yourself, but to serve others. Every day, I have to look head on at the danger and know that this is the job God has given me.
Fire Rescue Captain Dan Debrecht, twenty-six year EMT/Paramedic professional also shared a few words about what it means to him to be a public servant.
I don’t consider this a job. For twenty-six years, I’ve looked forward to going to work each morning. Seven or eight times a day, we are there when people are at a critical time of need. When they’re facing the loss of their house from a fire, when they must be extricated from their vehicle, or are facing a life-threatening medical crisis, our demeanor, witness, and faith can have a major impact.
Police, firefighters, and the military rise, not to the occasion, but to the level of their training. This is where God wants me, and I have never considered any other line of work for a second. I have faith in His will and have never been afraid of what might happen on the job. I treasure my job and it is one of God’s greatest gifts to me.
Our church greatly desires to honor and bless our public servants and their families. That’s why July 2 and 3 will be a special weekend at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and its campuses as we honor, pray for, and celebrate public servants in the law enforcement, fire/EMT, and military fields. We’re calling it Public Servants Weekend.
If you or someone you know is an active or retired public servant, invite them to join you at any of our campuses on Independence Day weekend so our church family can celebrate, thank, and encourage them!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.