They Came AnywayBlog / Produced by The High Calling
"Someone just triggered the silent alarm," our bank manager called out from behind the teller windows. He studied his console a moment longer and then announced, pointing at me, "It was him."
It was my very first day on the job, working for the loan officers in this branch. To get familiar with my new surroundings, I'd been checking out the various drawers and cubbyholes in my desk. I found a button that looked like it would open a latched door, but when I pushed it, nothing happened. Or so I thought. It had actually been the alarm.
"The police are going to come," the manager warned us. "Everybody get ready. Go to your desks and sit with your hands in plain sight. Don't make a move, and don't say anything." (Fortunately there were no customers in the branch at the time.)
"Can't you just call and tell them it's a false alarm?" I asked.
He chuckled. "They come anyway."
Of course they do. If real bank robbers found out an alarm had been triggered, the first thing they'd do was make the manager call and say it was a mistake.
Within moments, police officers came rushing through both entrances to the bank. They had their hands on their holsters so they could draw their guns instantly if they were needed. But they slowed their pace when they surveyed the tranquil scene.
The manager stepped forward. "Sorry, guys," he said, "false alarm. But thanks so much for coming."
The officers smiled. They knew the manager from patrolling the area, and they'd apparently had to respond to false alarms before. "Glad it's nothing," they said. "You know we're here if you need us."
They went back to their work, and we went back to ours. I kept telling myself that my second day on this job would have to be better than the first! But in one sense, it had actually been a good day. I learned an important lesson from those officers. They "came anyway."
In our daily work, we often don't expect anything to interrupt the routine. We don't suspect that emergencies or breakthroughs could be waiting behind ordinary-looking assignments. But they just might be. That's why we need to fulfill each task we're given faithfully. We may think a prospect won't be interested, but we still need to make the sales call. If we're working security, we need to check every door, even the one that's been locked every time before. If the numbers are off by even a little, we need to find out why.
The Bible tells how Elijah once commanded his servant to go and check the sky for rain, while he prayed (1 Kings 18:42-44). The land of Israel was in the midst of a prolonged drought, and the servant likely expected to find the sky clear, which he did. When Elijah sent him out a second time, he found the same thing. This kept happening each time he went. After a while, he could easily have decided he could report a clear sky without even checking. But God was about to send a great rainstorm. It would end the drought, show God's mercy, and demonstrate the power of prayer (James 5:6-18). The king and people needed to know well in advance that the storm was coming so they would acknowledge that God had sent it, and so they could take shelter.
Fortunately, the servant kept checking faithfully, and on his seventh trip, he saw a small cloud. When he reported this to Elijah, the prophet recognized this was the harbinger of the great storm. He immediately warned the king and people. God was glorified, and the people were kept safe, because this servant "came anyway."
We can do the same each day.