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Aug 28 2010

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Fires

campfire

It only takes a spark to get a fire going.

by Joel Kolb

Bending down over the ashes, I remember the fires of the past. Why had I been so careless to douse
them with neglect? They were majestic in warmth and light, but all that remains now is this pile of
ashes. Bending down further, I catch a colorful glimpse of a reddish amber glow. Could it be? A spark!

A glimmer of hope refusing to die. A chance opportunity sitting among the ashes, waiting to be fanned
into flame. But how could such a spark burn? There is no wind. “How dare the air withhold itself from
this spark!” Who would deprive such a glimmer of hope? “It is not my duty,” the air whispers. “Give it
your own breath. You only curse yourself when you fret. Get down on your knees and blow!”

I fall to my knees angry and ashamed, fill my lungs with air. and let out a gust. The spark lights up with a
smile… then returns to its sad tone. How could I be so foolish as to hope? And what was the spark to
do? Am I so foolish to think I could ignite ashes?

Reaching around me I locate a dry stick. From my pocket, I pull out a knife and began to carve. The
chips gather around the little spark as if in conversation. Again, my head bends low to the ground as
I blow… and blow… and blow. The chips lay scattered, the dust is raised, and my head throbbing. Perhaps
more patience and less anxiety would accomplish more.

Once again I gather the chips around the tiny spark which is nearly exhausted. I bend down and
blow… softly this time. The spark glows brilliantly. From the nearest shaving a waft of smoke begins.
Not exactly fire, but at least smoke! Again, and a second glowing ember appears, with rejoicing! Again,
and a third, fourth and fifth… eventually becoming a flame. Now, what do I do? Of course! I need fuel!

In less than a minute, I gather a handful of twigs. Leaning them together, I build a cone-shaped
house around the little flame. “Need some help, little fella?” I say, and once again bend down and blow.
With a hiss and a crackle, the little house catches fire. One by one I add twigs, each one bigger than
the one before. The twigs become sticks, and the house collapses as the flames lick higher.

A loud crack! And a shower of sparks come forth like a thousand freed captives. I gaze at the wonder
of the fire. I watch closely as each limb gratefully gives up its identity to the encroaching flame and
becomes part of the fire. Whole logs fall to embers. And the spectacle blazea with a mighty fervor.

Beholding its glory, I might have also given myself to be consumed. But driven back by the heat, I am
rather consumed with imagination. I stand amazed, considering such a glorious vision. Then I fall to the
ground with a burst of joyous laughter. “Look at you! You were just a little spark. and now you occupy
an area larger than me. Even I cannot bear your heat!”

Lying on the ground chuckling and boasting to myself, the flames leape and roare and tower over
me.

Then a voice speaks from the fire. “Who is greater, you or I?”

“I am greater,” I replied. “I made you. I gave you my own breath.”

The voice speaks again. “There you are wrong. Rather it is I who created you and gave you My breath.”

“Lord?” I ask.

“Consider yourself. You are a man. The fire testifies to me, but you are created in My very image. Know
who you are!”

The mystery of the flames, whose brilliance shine through the night, is surpassed only by the mystery
of my own being. The flames will be extinguished, but the spirit which burns in me is immortal.

The voice had said, “Consider yourself.” And so I do. By the curious fire, I sit and ponder in my
mind my own life. Bending down over the ashes of my mind, I remember the fires of the past. Why
had I been so careless to douse them with neglect? They were majestic in warmth and light, but all that
remains now is this pile of ashes. Bending down further, I catch a colorful glimpse of the One who holds
my life in His hands. Could it be? A spark!

Joel in Haiti

Joel Preaching In Haiti

Editor’s Note:   Pastor Joel and his wife Heidi serve the Lord faithfully at Hopewell Christian Fellowship, especially in the areas of Christian education and the Agape Prayer Ministry.  Through the Agape program, many people are being set free from the spiritual chains of the past.  Recently Joel and Heidi ministered in Haiti.


Joel’s devotional reminds me of an old song, “Pass It On.”

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