“Always Being Ready” A Story in Memory of 9/11.   By Ben LaCorte, President and Founder of Heroes of the Cross.

Riding my bike the other day, I went by a Firehouse. When you move through the world at only 9 to 11 miles an hour you notice a lot. In just a few seconds in front of that scene, a picture struck me, one that if it could speak, would have trumpeted one critical message: “Ready!”

“Why Ready?” you ask. Well first, the station door was up and the fire truck was backed in. It faced the danger, ready to take it head on. It would not have to waste time retreating. No backing up when there’s a fire to put out! When it was time to go, this vehicle was pre-pointed in the right direction, ready to go. Next, its doors were open. Once the bell rings, the firemen in the station would not have time to search around for keys to open stubborn doors that were steadfastly locked against them. Lastly, the firemen had special protective clothing that was laid out and ready to put on. Boots, coveralls and helmet were together and tested for effectiveness. All the men had to do was step into their boots, pull up, strap on, and buckle up.

When the brave first responders on September 11th, 2001 heard the alarm, they stepped into their roles as protectors of the community. They did it quickly, with urgency, understanding that every second could mean the difference between life & death to someone. They were ready; ready to run with total abandon into a burning building, ready to lead someone away from the blazing inferno, ready to suffer personal loss if that’s what was required. These men and women displayed real courage. But if you asked them, they would say they were just doing their jobs.

As apologists, as Christians even, what is our job? Peter’s first letter gives us insight. “Always being ready to give an answer to anyone who asks for the hope that is in you.” This means having our boots ready and pointed in the right direction. It means knowing how to show to the open heart that our Lord Jesus is the Son of God. We must not waste time crowbarring hearts that the Holy Spirit is not opening; having the discipline to focus on winning the soul and not the argument.

Our world is on fire. The alarm sounds but not everyone has ears to hear it. By the time they feel the heat it will be too late. It behooves each of us to run with abandon through the exits of our local church and trumpet the danger. How do you get ready? Learn to defend your faith. Teach those in your sphere, so they will be able to teach others also. Enroll in an apologetics class in your church; go to a conference near you and pick up some books. Keep the doors open to conversations with those who need to hear. Become a hero of the faith. Boot up. Gear up. And go pull someone out of a burning building.

This article is dedicated to the selfless heroes who, on September 11th 2001 in New York City, responded first and asked questions later.