Perhaps more than another people on the planet, firefighters have to be very careful with their diet. Dr. Brent Ruby suggests that they eat around 4,500 calories a day along with 7 to 9.5 liters of water in that same time span. And firefighters can’t just load up on any calories. Fast-food might fill them up for a moment but it will betray them later in their shift. Dr. Ruby suggests that firefighters make smart choices and eat a diet high in protein, carbs and good fats.
The answer is the reason why firefighters have to watch what they eat more closely than most other people. Dr. Ruby says that firefighters need foods that fill and fuel them for the longterm because, “as soon as they’re distracted from fire suppression, other risks crop up.”
Simply put, firefighters need to eat smart for their own good, for the good of the men serving with them and for the good of the community they are serving. They aren’t just being fed. They are feeding with a purpose.
There’s a name for organisms that feed for no other purpose than to get full. Parasites. And the American church is full of them.
But this is no new sensation. Paul warned against the parasitic mentality of church members 2,000 years ago.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
Have you ever wondered why so many churches are filled with people who do nothing but fight with one another? The reason why is because the people filling those churches are parasites. They blame the problems on the pastor or the youth guy or the changing culture around them but the truth is much more painful. If Jesus were their senior pastor, they’d still try to fire him while fighting with one another for the best feeding spot on their preferred host otherwise known as the church.
It’s important to be a part of a church where you are fed. But you must be fed like a fireman. One purpose of the Church is to be a feeding place where Christians can fuel up on a rich diet of Scripture for the good of one another and those outside of the Church. When this happens, the Church produces disciples who look more like their Master and less like the world.
They are humble as Christ was humble (Philippians 2:3).
They love others, just as Christ did (Philippians 2:4).
They serve like Jesus did (Philippians 2:7).
They obediently live a life on mission for the glory of God, just like Jesus did (Philippians 2:8-11).
A firefighter does not only work when you see him putting out a fire. Part of his job is done in the kitchen where he decides what he will fuel his body with. At the end of his shift, fires are put out, destruction comes to an end, and hopefully, lives are saved. Not so for the parasite. When his meal is complete, his host is destroyed. And so is he.
Hopefully you belong to a church where you are being fed.
And hopefully, that’s just the beginning of the part you play in your church.