"Actually," he told me, "I work for FEMA and I'm doing reports, so that we can get people the money they need to rebuild after the hurricane."
We talked until we both got off the elevator. Afterward, I could have kicked myself for not thanking him for his service to our country.
Everyday, there are unsung cogs in the machinery of our government who help us rebuild after disasters, ensure that we have clean water and good food and drugs, get our mail to us, help us with our Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid needs, catch bad guys, and protect our borders and our national security. From the people at the FDA, to the national park service...from the State Department and the Commerce Department to those who put their lives on the line for us in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, FBI, and CIA, our nation is made stronger by public servants committed to the goals of American government as enunciated in the preamble of the US Constitution. There, the Framers explained what this American federal government is for:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."There are rotten people in government. There are people who strive to do good, but who nonetheless do rotten things in government.
The same things can be said of any church, synagogue, mosque, company, school, or family, meaning that we still have every reason to thank those who work hard each day to ensure that we have justice, tranquility, defense, a society that provides opportunity for all of its citizens, and the blessings of liberty.
Political figures come and go.
Injustice remains an intractable element of life demanding the attention of every citizen of our country.
And sin still adheres to human character, preventing us and the nations of which we are citizens from being all that we would like them to be.
But the people who work in agencies like FEMA do the tough work that keeps our nation moving forward. And for him and countless others like him, I am thankful!
[I'm the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]