WHAT mATTERS? The Wood Stove and the Church
The heating season here in NE California is almost over and I want to share some things I’ve learned about my wood stove this year and its correlation to Christian principles.
1. Wood stove: It takes some newspaper, some small dead twigs laid on top, ignited by the spark of a match, with a gentle breath of air to bring a fire to life. Christian application: It takes the authority of the Word of the Bible, under small, spiritually dead seekers of truth, ignited by the spark of faith, with the gentle calling and leading of the Holy Spirit to beget new spiritual life.
2. Wood stove: A properly laid bed of kindling must be the foundation of a fire that will nourish the ignition and burning of bigger, more mature fuel. One match alone won’t ignite a single log. Neither can a lasting fire be maintained with just kindling. More mature fuel must be added. Christian application: Like kindling when first blazing, the zeal and excitement of new converts will spark enthusiasm in the older saints to release their potential. A healthy church is built on a mixture of new converts, growing disciples, and elder leadership.
3. Wood stove: Any fire needs a steady supply of heat, fuel, and oxygen to sustain itself over the course of the day. A lack of any one of these three components extinguishes it, causing it to lose its main purpose. A fire in the morning takes the chill off, but fuel must be added throughout the day to maintain a warm environment. Christian application: A steady supply of the heat of the Word of God, applied to the fuel of God’s people, as the oxygen of the Holy Spirit leads, will sustain a healthy church. A lack of any one component extinguishes the effects of the cross. Many churches start out hot but leave their first love, resulting in lack of growth both in numbers and maturity. Revelation 2:4-5
4. Wood stove: A single log has the potential to burn many hours, but if it sits alone without other logs along side, its fire will die out. Christian application: The church was never designed to depend on just one individual to do all the work. We need each other’s gifts and ministries working side by side to be effective as a healthy body. “And he gave some… (ministers, pastors, teachers, etc.) for the perfecting of the saints (that’s us), for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12
5. Wood stove: Periodic cleansing of the fire box and chimney of soot and ashes maintains a good relationship between all the components. If this is neglected, deadly, choking smoke will replace life sustaining heat. Christian application: Jesus washed the disciple’s feet as a symbol of cleansing forgiveness and then tells us to “confess our sins” 1John1:9 to maintain that healthy, life sustaining relationship with Him.
What matters? God desires us to get burning! We must not be content to just sit off to the side with a pile of other logs without being used inside the wood stove. Until we “…present our bodies a living sacrifice…” Romans 12:1-2 and say with Isaiah, “Here am I, send me.” Isaiah6:8 we will remain unfruitful. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2: