Friday, March 16, 2007

Stoking the Fire: Updated

Just when I started to think the "Fishers of Men" idea didn't apply to me so much as I must not be THAT part of the body, the nice Jehovah's witness lady came by again. It was cold, so I let her in. I knew a little about their beliefs, but I had NO IDEA how very lost and mistaken these "witnesses" are. She thinks that the angel, Michael, and Jesus are the same person! That's just the beginning. There is no hell, Jesus isn't God, the whole point of everything is "The Kingdom," etc. I was a little overwhelmed and at one point couldn't help but exclaim, "You mean there's a part in the Bible that I missed where Michael turns into Jesus?" I kind of feel bad now. I'd been nothing but nice until that point, I tried not to debate or argue, but I wasn't altogether successful. I'm not excited about ministering to these people, but how much more evident can God's Will be when they come knocking at my door and so clearly don't know Him? Ugh. So anyways, here's my original post along with the updates throughout...

I'm a puzzle lover. I love detective novels and used to do a bit of detecting myself as a counselor. Perhaps you like puzzles too. I've been thinking this winter as I learned from my husband how to stoke the wood/coal burning stove in the basement to heat our house, that surely, there must be some sort of analogy for us in this practice of living.

So, the following are steps to stoking a good fire. Ben usually starts it for me in the morning and I just keep it going throughout the day with wood or coal. So, this is not how to start a fire, but how to keep it going. Please share any other analogies you think of, I'll share what I can think of.

1. Don't wait too long to stoke the fire (or it will die). Ideally, you want to catch the embers while they're still so hot that new coal catches fire easily.
2. If you wait too long, you have to put wood on the embers first, let it catch fire, then put the coal on. If you really waited too long, you have to start the fire over from scratch, which involves a match, newspaper, and some kindling.
3. Ashes need to fall down or else the chimney gets clogged. So, before you add anything, you break up the big chunks of coal (evidently this helps it burn better), then shake the grate underneath to make the ashes fall down. THEN because the fire needs to breath, you stoke it again to aereate the embers (shaking the grate makes them settle too close together).

Still following me? In a nutshell, the best situation, after a fire is lit, is that you frequently (every 2 hours or so) break up the big chunks of burning coal, shake the grate to reduce ash, stir it up again to allow air through, then add lots of big chunks of fresh coal that should quickly catch fire. Anyone see any analogies hidden in there? Here's what I came up with:

Perhaps we, Christ-followers, are dead lumps of coal set aflame. God, I'm assuming, is the fire-starter and the fire itself. I think that he wants us to be so clearly, so evidently "on fire" for God that our flame is contagious to dead lumps of coal (non-believers), who can't resist the fire. We break up the big chunks of coal that have been burning for a while (as they start to stick together) and that's kind of like Christian communities that have begun to close themselves off to the world (usually out of fear and self-protection). I'm not implying church-splitting (never!), more like getting out of our comfort zone and yet still being able to feel the warmth of our fellow Christians. Another analogy is that stoking the fire frequently (or else it will die) is like how we need to meditate on His Word day and night in order to keep our own fires going. I think there's more, but that's what I've got for now.

I know that being "on-fire" for God is an over-used buzz word in Christian culture, but it had to come from somewhere. So, I went to my trusty and typed in fire. Most references were about hell, but there were a few that were about God's good fire:

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and [in] fire

Mark 9:49
For every one shall be salted with fire.

Luke 3:16
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but there cometh he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and [in] fire

1st Corinthians 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.

Hebrews 1:7
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds, And his ministers a flame a fire

Hebrews 12:29
for our God is a consuming fire.

1st Peter 1:7
that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:

So, you think when my Jehovah's Witness friend comes back and we talk about Jesus (that's the plan she made), that her coal will catch light from my fire? Thankfully, there's lots of websites out there on witnessing to "the Witnesses", check them out when you have time in case someone knocks at your door!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


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