Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Breaking the Burn Ban and Taming the Fire of Hell

I was sitting in my usual seat at the board of aldermen meeting last night when Cody Martin burst through the door into the town hall. 

Immediately, Jan said, "Cody, we're in a meeting."

"Someone has a fire in the fire pit." There was such urgency in his voice that we all turned around to look at him. "I saw it when I drove past the park."

It took a few seconds for the implications to sink in. The fire pit in the park is underneath a wooden pergola. A wooden fence is separated from the pergola by mere inches. A fire that was visible from the road had to be big.

We've had a state-wide burn ban for weeks. No open fire is allowed. The fine is $500. The risk is enormous. There have already been problems with fire in our area. A man died in a fire that got out of control. Acres have burned. 

The realization of the potential the fire presented hit us like a ton of bricks. We know what happens out West when fire gets started. We don't want that kind of devastation in our town. 

"Send a policeman down there," someone said. The chief was out of town for a class. We had no one to send. 

There was a scramble as we all jumped up from our chairs. Someone made a motion to end the meeting, someone else seconded it, and we voted as we headed out the door. We might not be able to arrest a fire bug, but we were going to do something.

We all converged on the park. At the fire pit area, I had to step back. The pit was filled with wood. The flames were enormous. Nearly as tall as my head. 

I demanded that the fire be put out immediately. Cody came with water in a jug. Malcolm unlocked the water faucet. Jan called the fire department.

Everyone did something. (Yes. My actions were the least helpful of all.)

Cody had the fire almost out when it flamed up again.

Curt Clayton came with the fire truck. They unrolled the hose, stretched it to the pergola, and pumped water on the fire until it was completely out. 

The timely action of a young man who could see a risk and take action prevented what could have been a catastrophe for the people in our town, none of whom knew the drama that was unfolding. I wish more people were as responsible about the danger of fire as Cody Martin. If I'd had a medal to pin on him last night, I'd have done it. 

I still can't get the thought of fire out of my mind this morning, and I'm reminded of what James wrote. 

"So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire. And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among the members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell....With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God..." James 3:3-6, 9 nasb

The danger of fire is very fresh in my mind. That my tongue can be even more dangerous is a horrifying though. And yet, I know it's true.

I've been careless with my tongue more times than I want to remember, but I'm choosing to do better. To guard my words. To give my tongue to Jesus, who is the Only One who can tame it.

Today, join me as we take a look at the fire of hell in our own tongues. Do we bless God and curse our fellow men with it? Are we careful about every word? If we need some divine tongue-taming, and we probably do, let's invite our Lord to take control over our tongues and sweeten our words with the gentleness of His Spirit.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Proverbs 18:21 esv

"A gentle tongue is a tree of life..." Proverbs 15:4 esv
Today, I'm grateful for my fellow citizens who see a need and take action to meet it. I'm especially grateful for Cody Martin.

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The One Who Always Keeps His Promises
Here's the link to support this ministry: Leanna Hollis  Account #4841

#burnban #fire #thankful