Squirt, Squirt

Paul Masek's picture

A story has been told of a small town in New York, in the aftermath of the tragedy of September 11. The people of the town had a meeting, and decided that they wanted to support their firefighters. So, the next time a fire broke out, the people hurried to the burning building, arriving in advance of the fire truck. When the fire truck arrived, the firefighters found the building encircled by the townspeople. The all had squirt guns in their hands, and were pointing them at the burning building, squeezing the triggers. Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

The fire chief, surprised upon his arrival at the scene, asked the people what they were doing. One of the people from town replied, "We appreciate you, and we love what you do. We believe in you, and we want to help you." Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

The fire chief replied, "Get out of our way! Do you really think that you are helping our efforts with your squirt guns? Absolutely not! We don't need people armed with squirt guns here. We need people willing to sacrifice their lives to go into the burning building – people willing to rescue those inside who are trapped and dying."

This parable is a challenge to the people of God; so often we are like the people of the town. We appreciate God, and we love what He does. We believe in Him, and so we want to be helpful. So we do our little things for God...

"I go to church on Sunday." Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

"I give up candy for Lent every year." Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

"I send my kids to a Catholic school (or PSR). Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

"I put a couple of dollars in the collection basket." Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

"I go to a prayer group (or youth group, or Life Teen)." Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

"I pray before I go to bed at night." Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

Are the things above bad things? Of course not! But, are they enough? Maybe not...

Sometimes, I think God sees the small things we do, and is deeply disappointed. Like the fire chief, He wants more of us. He knows that He has given us so much, and yet we give so little in return. Squirt, squirt. Squirt, squirt.

What God really needs, in this troubled world today, is not more people with squirt guns. He needs people who are willing to go into the places where people are dying, and rescue them from the flames.

Who will be the firefighters for God?
Who will rescue the lost?
Who will sacrifice their time to serve the poor?
Who will give to a needy ministry even when it hurts?
Who will invite the 'class nerd' to have lunch with them?
Who will start a youth group where there is not one yet?
Who will be bold enough to actually tell their friends about Christ?
Who will be the next generation of priests, sisters, parents, youth ministers?

Here's the prayer I am praying; can you join me - HERE I AM, SEND ME!

And then, can we be bold enough to listen to what He wants us to do, and go where He wants us to go?

Paul Masek is the coordinator of the REAP Team, a Catholic youth retreat ministry of the Catholic Youth Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He is married to Lisa, and they have four kids - Jacob, Audrey, Kyle, and Dominic. You can follow Paul on Twitter: @clasekmasek, and you can contact Paul via email: paul@reapteam.org