“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
– Ferdinand Foch
I first learned how to build a real campfire long ago from a famous book: Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival. In the chapter on campfires, he details wood selection, safety and the best way to build specific fires for specific needs.
That particular chapter came in useful at a camp-out with some friends in the Smoky Mountains a few years ago. After building a fire in the late afternoon and cooking over it in the evening, we attempted to build an inferno that could melt the soles of hiking boots from 75 feet, drive the dew from the entire campsite and be seen from space. We didn’t quite achieve the goal, but it was close. Tom Brown’s advice on getting the right wood has proven correct time and time again. One has to be selective of the right wood for the needed heat, light, and longevity of the fire.
Let’s say that there’s a campfire burning, and you are asked, along with everyone else, to bring something to contribute to the fire. What would you bring?
Perhaps someone would bring dry grass – light, airy and easy to carry. That person comes along and takes great armfuls of grass and pitches it onto the flames. Almost instantly the hay ignites and gives off a burst of light and heat, and then as quickly as it started, the fire dies down again. The substance is missing.
Maybe another shows up with a plastic log, like those used as props in stage productions. It looks real, but it is just cleverly shaped and artistically painted plastic. It looks good, but soon after it touches the coals, acrid black smoke rolls from it and fills the campsite. The log has substance, but it is the wrong kind of substance.
Later, someone arrives with a piece of wood and lays it in the fire pit. Time passes, but nothing happens. You peer into the flames only to discover that the log is noncombustible petrified wood.
What if the Church was a campfire? What would we bring? Do we give off great heat and light, but then lose heart, grow bored or get distracted, only to “die down” quickly (Galatians 6:9; Philippians 2:12-14)?
Might we be bringing plastic logs, but no one seems to know, and when the heat comes, the impurity and insincerity come out (1 Timothy 1:5)?
Or maybe we are bringing resistant wood that has become hardened, cold and impervious to flame, but yet we desire to worship with warmth (Psalm 34:18; 51:17).
In Leviticus, we find that God gave the command that “a fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:13). The constant fire was a reminder that he is always faithful to offer forgiveness and mercy. Access to God’s grace is available constantly and instantly to those who come with sincerity of heart and repentance over sin.
The ever-present fire reminded his people that he is always faithful. But are we faithful to offer him our worship, our service, and our love? Are we allowing our affection for him to burn with a holy, infectious heat?
What are you bringing to the fire?
We will be fervent in our spirits as we serve God. – Romans 12:11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
We would be faithful to stir up the ministry gifts that God has given each of us. – 2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,
We would be “on fire” in our work for Christ. – Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.