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“You do not serve alone,” the Rev. Antonio Clinkscales said at the First Responders Appreciation Service at Mr. Tabor Baptist Church on Sunday, March 9.
Clinkscales took his text from I Peter 4:11 as he spoke words of encouragement to those who serve faithfully in our community under the honorable badges of police, fire, and rescue. He said God furnishes the fearless strength for service and those who serve others do not serve alone.
Presentations were made to the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and each county volunteer fire and rescue squad. A special presentation was made to Sgt. Keith Chapman for going above and beyond his call to duty to serve and protect the community.
First responders give a sense of peace and hope to the community by their faithful service. When we are in distress those flashing lights give us a sense of security because we know help has arrived. First responders are trained to serve in difficult circumstances. Those in need find comfort through first responders because of their expertise.
When the call comes, these community heroes respond even though they do not know what circumstances they might encounter or who may be in trouble. These brave men and women respond regardless of what they are doing because that higher source of power greater than themselves inspires them to act selflessly. They leave family and other duties to respond to the needs of others. They offer their service to anyone in need with no bias or hesitation because the call to serve is stronger than personal issues.
Sgt. Keith Chapman was recognized for his service as an officer but also for what he does behind the scenes. His work with YoungLife and other youth affiliations in the community helps build a positive relationship between young people and law enforcement.
His pastor, the Rev. Jared Beasley of Jerusalem Baptist Church, indicated that Keith was a Christian first and foremost in his life and lived it in his work and home. Major Scott Moser gave examples of how Officer Chapman goes the extra mile in his duties to regularly visit people in the hospital and nursing home, offer prayers to the sick and shut-in, mentors those who detoured off the right path of life, and is a spiritual leader to other officers.
“We serve because we have a passion for what we do,” said Major Moser. “The call to serve stays with us even after we retire.”
I left this event feeling good about our community and encouraged that the folks at Mt. Tabor reached beyond their walls to send a message of hope and love. The church needs to recognize those who serve others as Christ taught us. Service in the name of the Lord is not limited to the walls of the church. Unless the transformation of Christ changes a person’s heart and the message of hope and love is carried to others then the “salt has lost its savor and not any good.”
The First Responders Appreciation Service showed how we can get the salt out of the saltshaker and into the world. The service ended with a meal of appreciation for the First Responders. Truly, when we serve in the power of the Lord, we do not serve alone.