Ashen Lump or Hot Coal?

This is an old story, but a good one.

       There was once a dour old Scotsman who rarely went Church. The pastor of the church went out to see him in his small cottage home along a muddy country road. The pastor knocked; the old Scotsman came to the door, opened it, saw the pastor, and without a word motioned him inside. He pointed to a rocking chair in front of the coal fire and drew up another chair for himself. The two men sat quietly and watched the coals burn brightly.

       After a time the pastor stood up, took the pair of tongs, lifted one of the burning coals out of the fire, and put it off to the side of the hearth. Both men watched the lone coal as it grew ashen and cold. After a few minutes the pastor tooks the tongs, picked up the now dead coal, and put it back in the fire. He sat down and both men watched as once again it burned brightly with all the rest. Then without a word the pastor left.

       The next Sunday the old Scotsman was in church, and he seldom missed worship from that time forward.

       Every coal needs the fire and warmth from other burning coals. The fire and passion of Christ’s love cannot grow or be sustained in isolation.  “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29)  

       What are the tribulations and inducements that sap the warmth of God’s grace from your life?  What are banal idolatries that distract you from the love God demonstrates so powerfully for you? What dark skeptics are robbing you of the hope in the gospel you have been given? Why do you let yourself grow ashen and cold?

       Come and worship to be ignited by the fire of the LORD’s Spirit. Gather with God’s family around his Word and his life-giving presence in the Lord’s Supper.  Let the fire of Christ warm you through your worshipping church, so that together in Him we can warm the world and our community. Jesus Christ needs you to be a witness to God’s power and salvation and to touch, alight and set on fire other people’s lives with his love.

       The Peace of the Lord be with You

       Pastor Douglas Schoelles

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