A guy from church, out of the goodness of his heart, brought over a load of firewood. Free of charge. Wouldn't take a dime. Great guy. Great gift.
But I can't get the wood to burn. And it's not his fault. Or mine. Well, maybe mine. If I had planned ahead a bit I wouldn't need to burn it this year. I could let it age.
The wood still has that light-tan color of kindergarten-young firewood.
It doesn't have that weathered-cracked-grey of prime, AARP-certified firewood.
It's heavy, still full ofmoisture. So getting it started and keeping it lit is tough. And it won't burn hot - as in "taking the chill off 15 below" hot.
It just isn't dead enough.
So here I am, babysitting the wood stove. The sun'll be up in 3 hours. I have my Chain-Of-Lakes throw blanket draped over me, a steaming cup of the Elixir of Knowledge within easy reach, and the laptop tops my lap.
I swig the Elixir and watch the struggling fire. And it hits me.
Am I "dead enough"? Is that why my life is dark and cold like the world around me?
Nuts. It's kinda early for honesty, but I'm already down the rabbit hole. A thought wanders by, stopping long enough to poke my mind.
"Being dead to ..." "Dying to ..." "Present yourselves as ..."
All that stuff I've heard on all those Sundays. Now I get it. Sorta. Too much of me and it's keeping me from bringing Him and His warmth to those around me. I glow a little but I don't warm. I'm not dead enough.
I remember a quote I heard. It was made by Jim Elliot, a missionary back 50-60 years ago.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose."
He was murdered about 50-60 years ago. But he was pretty dead long before he died. He had died to self. A "more of Him and less of Jim" kinda thing.
He burned bright and hot along with his buddies. As did their widows. Together they ignited a whole people, pouring His light and warmth into a very dark and cold place.
And that place was changed forever.
That's some "good wood".