I’m going to journal from today’s Life Journal reading for today in a moment, but first I need to take a moment to say today marks the 9th anniversary of Casey and my wedding! Yippee! I’m so blessed to be married to such an amazing girl! She loves Jesus with all her heart, cares so deeply about other’s loving Jesus that it often leaves her in tears, loves our children deeply and is an AMAZING mother, smacks me around when I need it (which is often) and is truly an Ephesians 5 wife, plus she is super hot! We married in 2000, but met in 1998 completely by God’s sovereignty (I’m rather Calvinistic in that regard!) and in true Armininian style she decided to give me a shot. I love you Casey, and can’t wait for another 90! Now on to the journaling
Proverbs 26:20: Where there is no wood, the fire goes out.
This is such a short verse, in fact it is only half of the verse, kind of sitting there by itself as many of Solomon’s proverbs do. No other context around it. On it’s surface it seems rather Boy Scouts 101, but it caused me to stop as I read it this morning. Anyone who’s tried to start a fire AND keep it lit without the use of lighter fluid or Roman candles or in the brush of Southern California, knows the challenges of starting a fire. It requires fuel, wood. But it requires certain types of wood at strategic points to truly become a self-sustaining useful fire. Solomon is not talking about the intricacies of Smore creation, he’s talking about our spiritual life. The fire must stay lit, but it happens in stages. At the beginning small twigs and leaves, kindling are needed. They light fast and bright, but quickly burn out. Too often we stay at the kindling stage. We light fast and then burn out because kindling isn’t the right fuel for long-term “burning.” You have to step it up a notch and throw some medium sized sticks on there to get the heat level a little higher and longer-lasting. Once those begin to burn you move up even more to the big logs. Big logs take much longer to develop into useful fuel, but once there they burn hotter, longer, and much more usefully. Isn’t that our spiritual life? Personally and as the local church? We need to move from kindling to log burning if we’re going to sustain and be useful to God’s Kingdom purposes.
Kindling provides a quick bright flame that is exciting when we see it shoot up in the air, but it burns out so quickly if it isn’t used to get the next level of wood burning. It provides a great “show” but does not change the surrounding campsite. It doesn’t really provide useful warmth nor is it useful for cooking. Again, sticks will burn for a while, but aren’t the best for the long term. You’ve got to put in the work and effort to get the big logs burning, that’s where the true value in a fire is. We have to want to move past the kindling to the big logs. It’s work! It’s not as flashy as the initial burst of flame, but that’s where true growth happens. We should desire to burn long and hot and change our world, not just ourselves, just as there is a difference between a fire of kindling and healthy fire of logs. Otherwise, too quickly, the fire goes out.
Lord, let us be a people willing to put in the work to become logs in your fire. As individuals and as churches. I don’t want my fire, or the fire of Ephesus Church to go out. Lord I also pray for churches all over the world that we might all be challenged to become fires built on logs and not kindling. Amen.