Read: Proverbs 26
Key Verses: Proverbs 26:20. “Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.”
Devotional: One of my favorite things to do is sit by a fire. A few years ago I built a large fire ring out of stones in my backyard. I intentionally made it larger than a traditional fire pit because I wanted to be able to have large, raging fires. There’s something about watching a fire right? Most people, even those who don’t enjoy being outdoors can sit at a fire and just stare at the flames. It’s mesmerizing. When I host fires at my house I have a go-to saying that I’ve become known for by those in attendance, “Do we need more wood?” I usually utter this phrase when it’s clear that we do not need more wood on the fire. The fire is already raging and at times it’s questionable whether more wood would even fit in the ring but still the question comes, “Do we need more wood?” Nine times out of ten, I’ll add more wood regardless because you can’t have too big of a fire. There have even been a few mornings when the slightest flicker of flame is still evident in the ring after a late night fire the night before.
What has always intrigued me most about fire building is the simple fact that good fires need to be built. You can’t just drop a log or two into a fire ring, light a match, walk away and expect to have a good, long lasting fire. You have to build a good fire. You can go with your teepee model or your log cabin model or some other Boy Scout hybrid, but regardless you have to build your fire. But it doesn’t stop there, once a fire is built you have to feed it (that’s my favorite part). If you don’t regularly add fuel then your fire is going to sputter out.
Proverbs 26:20 gives us a pretty simple to understand parallel when thinking about the figurative fires of our lives. You’ve probably had some fires to put out in life right? You’ve dealt with your fair share of family fires, work fires, marriage fires, friend fires maybe even church fires. These fires usually get sparked into existence from an off handed or a misunderstood comment or perhaps some feeling of being slighted, left out or passed over.
Everyone experiences times of tension at work, in family, in friendships, in marriage, as parents. Sparks easily fly in these settings because these are the settings we spend the most time in and these are the people we most frequently surround ourselves with. It doesn’t take much of a spark to get a figurative fire going. The sparks aren’t the issue. The issue is what comes next and what keeps the fire rolling:“Do we need more wood?”
Our words have tremendous power to feed a fire or to extinguish it. Anyone can feel slighted, overlooked, left out, frustrated, under utilized, under appreciated and taken for granted but few can feel those things and not allow them to rage into a roaring fire.
Allow me to encourage you to adopt a different approach the next time a spark gets ignited in your life. Stop feeding it. Every time you go over it in your head, every time you “vent” to a friend, every time you lay in bed and stew about it you’re asking the question, “Do we need more wood?” Stop feeding the fire.
Take Action: Make a list of the fires in your life right now. How many of those fires were ignited by something insignificant? How many of those fires would likely have already died out had you not continued to feed them?
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