Okay, if you had been my next door neighbor, you could have pointed over to the yard and said, “Look at that grown man gathering sticks.” Excuse me; I don’t have the kind of a boring life where I just go around gathering sticks all the time. It’s for a purpose. We put all those sticks into this kindling box in the garage, and then we happen to like having a fire in our fireplace. And I learned that the basic old Boy Scout law that you’ve got to have kindling to get a fire going. It’s true!
Now, sometimes you want a fire, and sometimes you don’t want a fire – it wouldn’t be good, then, to just use the kindling. For example, if you want to go to bed; you want the fire to die, so you don’t put kindling on it for heaven’s sake. Sometimes it’s August – it’s 95 degrees outside. You probably don’t want to put wood on your fire. Then there are those tragic fires you hear about, the kind of fires that burn what you love. Maybe there are fires around you like that and they’re getting just too hot to handle.
Well, I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Human Kindling.”
Our word for today from the Word of God is about human fires and human kindling, and it’s in Proverbs 26:21. A lot of great wisdom and insight here about human relationships all through the book of Proverbs! Here’s what it says: “As charcoal is to embers and wood is to fire…” Oh, hey! There are my sticks from the kindling box. “…so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.” Well, there it is – human kindling.
It talks here about charcoal, it talks about wood. We know what embers are all about. That’s a dying campfire. Well, you know, they’re fueled by charcoal. Fire is fueled by wood. And there are people, apparently, who are usually without meaning to be, human kindling. You say, “Hey, I know one of those! Yeah, I’ll tell you, I know this guy; he’s one of those quarrelsome men. Every time he comes in the temperature goes up.”
Whoa! Whoa! Let’s look in the mirror. Consider yourself. Think of some of the conflict, the tension, and the controversy around your life. Does it seem that oftentimes when there’s a conflict or an argument it’s often about you? When there’s tension in your family, does it seem like somehow it’s usually when you’re around? Maybe you’ve noticed that around you there’s sort of this tense, overheated atmosphere. Things get negative and critical and complaining when you’re around. You say, “Well, I’m tired of being in the middle of so many arguments, and controversy, and heat, and tugging and pulling.
Could it be that you’re fueling some of it? Maybe without even realizing it, your stubbornness, your unwillingness to change is kindling to the fire in your relationships. Or could it be that, well, like you can never be wrong? Or you’re insistent on your way. Or you always find out what’s wrong with somebody and you seldom or ever tell them what’s right with them. Maybe there’s something you say that antagonizes those people around you. Maybe there’s a harshness, an edginess that’s developed in you and you’re not able to see it, or maybe you’ve been manipulating people with guilt, always to get your way.
You say, “Well, I don’t want to be that. Good! Because hasn’t there been enough fire? It doesn’t need any more kindling. Maybe it’s time to say, “Lord, help me to see what I am helping to cause the conflict, the tension, the stress, the brokenness in our family, in my relationships.
This would be a good day to pray, “Dear Lord, I don’t want to be wood on the fires around me anymore. I’d like to be water to help put them out.”