Campfires… I’ve been a passionate fan of the flame for as long as I can remember. As a kid we went camping all the time and camping wasn’t camping without a fire. Each night (and sometimes even the next morning) we would light a fire. Those fires had so many purposes.
We used them to cook over. The fresh rainbow trout caught that day would be gutted, cleaned, and carbonized over an open flame. Dessert was eaten there too; a cast-iron Dutch oven created an amazing peach or apple cobbler. Most often, simple yet gooey s’mores had just the right way of ending a perfect day.
We would also stay warm by those fires. I can’t count how many sneaker soles got all hot-n-rubbery as we kicked up our feet around the base; resting them on the granite boulder ring. On the cold nights, in the southern Sequoias, we lit the fire and huddled close before slipping into our bags for the night. I remember smelling the smoke on my shirt as I went off to sleep.
One of the most memorable uses of the campfire was identity. I knew exactly where our campsite was based on the size of our fire. The glow of the fire enabled us to see all around our encampment; who was sleeping where, and who might be making that last stop at the porta-potty before making their way back to our tent. Our embers radiated just enough light to watch the camp bear rummage the trash cans for scraps of food. Sometimes those embers were actually better than the fire itself.
Anybody who’s ever sat by a campfire and watched the flames lick the oxygen out of the black of night knows what I’m talking about. Fire would dance lively before us, as entertaining as ever. Staring into the flickering lights could silence a group of restless kids better than any video game or movie thriller ever could. There’s just something about a fire.
“Get on fire for God and men will come and see you burn.” — John Wesley
I want to be “that guy” who lights up and stays lit! I want to be used for His purposes. I want to get the fire going and get it so hot that even the soggy wood lights up! But I gotta remember it’s not me that makes the fire. The fire exists already and I am only fuel. I want to burn to such an extent that I am no longer recognizable as the dried up stick but I am known only as I take on the glow of the embers. Apart from Him, I cannot have true purpose; I am deceived in thinking otherwise.
We were warned about this very thing when the prophet said, “If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God. But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.” (ISA 50:10-11)
It’s not really about us, until we are combined with Him, then it’s about us! OUR glow, Jesus in me – his Spirit shining through me as a light set on a hill for all to see!