I have spoken about this EXACT concept several times in the years since I heard the analogy. It was very powerful to me when I first heard it…and it is still a very vivid image in my mind whenever I believe I don’t need other people…or I don’t need to go to church or hear God’s voice.Today my mother-in-law sent me the following story. It is my same old image with a new twist. I hope that this helps demonstrate the importance of what my posts have been about recently… THAT we NEED relationships and godly fellowship…to not only be happy and healthy but to stay alive.
“A member of the church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.
It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.
The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.
The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one, lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon, it was cold and dead.
Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, ‘Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday.’
We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.”
The Lord is my Shepherd —– that’s a Relationship!
I shall not want —– that’s Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures —-that’s Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters —–that’s Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul —– that’s Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness –that’s Guidance!
For His name sake —– that’s Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death–that’s Testing!
I will fear no evil —– that’s Protection!
For Thou art with me —– that’s Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me —–that’s Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies——that’s Hope!
Thou annointest my head with oil —–that’s Consecration!
My cup runneth over —– that’s Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life—-that’s Blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord —–that’s Security!
Forever —– that’s Eternity!
I thought this was pretty special, just like YOU! What is most valuable is not what we have in our lives, but WHO we have in our lives.”
Thanks, Nola! This was an important message for today and for every day! This particular version of this story was especially meaningful to me because the preacher didn’t say anything. The man Pastor let the Holy Spirit guide him in what to say or what not to say and the message was heard loud and clear! We have to trust that sometimes people need to hear God’s Word…words of love and encouragement and forgiveness and hope. And sometimes people just need to feel God’s love. If we don’t know the words to say, just don’t say anything at all. Just be there. That can be the most poweful testimony that anyone could ever say to another…just to be there. So that they know that someone cares. Peace