“Accountability Tags”

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We’ve all seen the Christmas movie, where the family goes on vacation and as they reach their destination, realize that they have left someone behind.  The parents of the young fellow panic in an attempt to get back home to their young child left behind.  As you might remember the airlines are all booked up on travel due to the Christmas rush, and in the airport a gentleman hears the desperate pleas of the family trying to figure out how to get back home.  He offers a ride to the family, as his band is headed, in the direction of their home.  The decision is made that the dad stay with the kids and the mother is going to take the offer of the stranger, and ride back home to where the lost son is.

Accountability is so important.  We take account of things everyday of our lives, if you really think about it.  At my house food is a subject, that my whole family remind me of, especially when the fridge is low on milk, or the pantry is two pieces of bread short of being out.  The bathroom, if the toothpaste is getting to the end of the tube, so you have to step on the tube to get it to give just one more burst of paste to fill our brush, well, you know what I mean.  So accountability, is a big part of who we are, and a big part of our lives.  Taking the kids to practice, washing to laundry, just to name a few accountable examples.

Working at the fire department is no different, than things we accountable for at home.  As the shift starts, the first thing we do, is take our turnouts off the rack, and we make sure that we have every piece of our armor.  If one piece is missing, then we try to replace the missing piece.  Usually everyone has an extra set of gloves, or a nomax hood, just in case we need a quick replacement.  We place our gear on the truck, after we have taken account of every piece.  We have to document on the computer with a check mark every piece of our gear, to satisfy the accountability system.  With that said, our “accountability tags,” are very important.  For those reading this narrative, who are not in the fire service, Accountability tags, is a piece of plastic with our first and last name on one side and velcro on the other side of it.  When our shift starts, we place the tag on a Velcro board.  When we respond to a fire, when we arrive on the scene, the Captain hands the board to the Incident Commander, and everyone on the truck is accounted for.  During an incident a “Par Check” may be called for, which means “Accountability Check.”  The Captain or Acting Captain will give account of his or her crew.  If we do not have “Par,” then we have to find the person missing.

Application:  Jesus cares for us.  As His followers we are accountable to him, and He is accountable to us through his promises.  Jesus many times referred to his children, as sheep.  If you have ever studied the lifestyle of sheep, they are very dependent animals.  They depend on the shepherd of the flock to lead and guide them, to safe passage, to shelter, and to food.  Psalms 23 is a very good example of the shepherd.

 Psalms 23 – The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.     He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,     he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk  through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil,  for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me .You prepare a table before me  in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil;  my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and  (mercy) love will follow me  all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord     forever. (NIV)

Notice when we rely on the shepherd, we will have everything we need.  “We lack nothing.”  Verse 2 “he leads me beside quiet waters.  Sheep are very nervous animals.  They will not go near rushing water because they are scared animals, but with the shepherds leading he will lead them to water that is not a threat the them.  Jesus will do the same for us.  Verse 3 The shepherd refreshes my soul.  Its refreshing to know that  you and I are in the shepherds hands, and that he is leading and guiding me into right paths because of His Name sake.  Jesus stamps his name of approval on the path we are on, if we allow him to be our “accountability system.”  verse 4 The dark valleys will come, but we don’t have to be afraid, there is comfort with the shepherd, he offers protection. If we get lost in the moment He will come after us, even die for us. (John 10 : 14.)-   Psalms 23 verse 5 The shepherd prepares our table among the vilest of offenders, but no one can touch our plate because the shepherd has prepared the way for you.  Example: Think of the most delicious meal that you have ever had.  For me Ribeye is my favorite.  The shepherd places my plate of Ribeye steak on a table and dares the enemy to touch my plate.  the enemy cannot touch the plate that God has prepared for his kids.  That’s good stuff!  The shepherd is accountable for his sheep.  “You anoint my head with oil.”  This is a picture of healing medicine.  Jesus anoints us for his healing.  As a child if we cut our finger our mom or dad would put medicine on our cut and put a band aid on our wound.  Jesus does that for us spiritually.  Finally good things will come our way according to verse 6.  Jesus is accountable for us, when we allow our lives to to driven by His accountability system.  We will dwell with God always!

Accountability is learned trait, it just doesn’t happen.  We have to remember to place our tags on the board at the beginning of the shift and remove them when our shift is over.  Being accountable is a healthy choice.  Allow our lives to be touched by God, and including that I’m going to let my life today be Gods tool, to speak to people in need.  Lets be accountable to His cause, peace, love, no easily provoked, longsuffering, having mercy toward others, to name a few.  Accountability sometimes isn’t comfortable, because it puts us in the mercy of a higher power, but it is most useful in God’s hands.  Thanks for dropping in, The  Chaplains Corner.

Have a Great Weekend.    Lee D.

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