Last Wednesday night, I hung out with some friends around a bonfire. The fire was going pretty good, until someone decided that they would burn an old, rickety chair… When the chair was engulfed in flames, it kicked up the heat a few notches and made everyone take a couple steps back. It was beautiful to watch, even if it seemed to be a little irresponsible, but I guess it all depends on how you look at it. From the angle of my picture, it looked pretty cool. Some of my friends who saw it from the front said that it reminded them of some portal into another world…
Well, more than being cool to watch, that burning chair burned a lesson into my heart… The throne that I have built for myself is rickety, broken down, and it would be more likely to let me fall than actually give me a solid place to sit. If I do not stand on Christ the Solid Rock, then I am stumbling and I am lost. I have to take this poor throne and burn it for my King, so that the world may see the beauty that rises from sacrifice and the warmth that comes from serving my Abba. No matter how precious my throne seems to me, it is not worth the price of my soul or the glory of the One Who purchased my soul from death.
After the chair burnt down, a couple of the guys grabbed their guitars and we started singing worship songs. While we sang, I watched a hollowed out log throw embers into the air and those embers made trails of light as they floated on the breeze. In those trails of light, I saw a picture of our worship.
No matter what struggles or trials we each have faced (or will face), yet we came together for fellowship and to praise the One Who makes us all family. All of us sitting there were (and are) living sacrifices unto our Abba1; burning flames that are a sweet savor to the lover of our souls. And as we burn for our King, we float upon the blessings of the wind2 like shining embers, leaving trails of light for the world to follow.3
This picture was beautiful to me, but it also revealed a harsh truth: embers only come from flames. Being a follower of Christ does not mean that every problem is solved and every hurdle is suddenly crossed, it just means that we do not face hardships alone and the end result of our toil and trials is eternity with the lover of our souls. Sometimes we have to sacrifice what is precious to us, but God does not ask us to give up anything that we cannot live without. Someday, we may be asked to give up our very lives, but our home is not here; eternity awaits and we can live without this body. By the grace of God, these flames will burn away what is not necessary and we will come out the other side with robes of white. Jesus suffered so much to give life to all those who call upon His name… how can we expect not to suffer or not to sacrifice what is only temporal? Ultimately, we will never suffer so much as our Savior did.
He was struck by pain and sorrow undeserved and was even separated from His Heavenly Father, but He suffered those things so that we would no longer be separate from Him or from His Father… our Father. Never will we be forsaken, because the blood of the Lamb has covered us. We were once shrouded in darkness and stained by sin, but Christ has bought us and brought us into His light.
So, we are living sacrifices, being called to lay down our thrones and our crowns at the feet of Christ. Let all of those earthly things burn, but let Christ be glorified through the embers. Amen!
Thank You, Jesus, for sweet fellowship and the opportunity to worship You. Please help me and my brothers and sisters to burn bright for You no matter the cost, to always be growing in You, and to have the courage to turn the world around us upside down. Amen.
1. Romans 12:1
2. John 3:8
3. John 8:12