My family would go camping often while I grew up which always meant my mom’s creative cooking — campfire spaghetti anyone? But before we could eat her meals, we had to gather wood for the fire. Twigs, small sticks, dry leaves and grass, and eventually large sticks and logs were required to start and sustain the best fires.
As many outdoor-minded folks know, you don’t start a fire with the big logs, you start with the twigs. Then, as the flame catches and begins to consume the initial twigs, more twigs, leaves and small sticks are added.
The smaller twigs are rarely remembered when the larger logs are added to the fire, but without them, it is harder to start a sustaining fire.
Jim Elliot understood that reality. While in college he prayed earnestly, “God, I pray, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for Thee.” He realized it was more about the purpose of the flame than the size of the sticks used to create the fire.
I wonder sometimes, are we trying to be the big log- the one that draws the attention of others, or are we willing to be used to start the fire– soon consumed by the flames and used for His glory and purposes, not our own celebrity?
How many of the saints and martyrs in their own lives were just a simple twig? Now, years, decades, and centuries later they have been shown to be spiritual giants. Why? God was able to build a consuming fire that caused a revival in a land, region, or country because out of their willingness to be the twigs.
O Best Beloved, Study the lives and ministries of the men and women who are your spiritual heroes. I would believe you will find many “idle sticks” willing to burn for God.
Would you be willing to be the twigs? Quickly consumed, but used to sustain the fire that will burn brightly for the glory and purposes that only God may know.
. . . for our “God is a consuming fire” ( Hebrews 12:29).