I remember as a child getting up to all sorts of things, some fairly normal and some a little more adventurous. One of my favorite places was the yacht club we used to belong to. It was out in the sticks in the middle of South Africa. The clubhouse had gas lighting and the hot water was heated by a large fire in a mud kiln with a large oil drum above it, away from the clubhouse, but in the middle of a forest with lots of dead grass around.
It was my favorite thing to go up there, sometimes alone, and sometimes with other children, and play with the fire. (Yes, I know now looking back it might have been a little dangerous but it was the 70’s!!)
One day I was up there, alone, putting sticks in the fire and pulling them out and looking at the fire burning on the end. It was then that I got distracted and for some reason put the stick down on the dead grass area.
The fire caught hold of the grass instantly, and my heart went into my mouth as it spread rapidly. I had to chase it around stamping it out and it just caught the next clump of grass and continued. It was a nightmare but I persisted and eventually got the last bit out. Had it caught on, the whole hill would have caught alight.
What amazed me was how quickly that fire spread. It was one careless moment and after I had finished extinguishing the flames there were burn marks everywhere around. The damage was there, even though I’d put the flames out. And anything that was alive would have taken ages to re-grow again.
Looking back at this moment in my life reminds me what the bible says about our tongue and the things we say. In James 3:5 the bible talks about how we can set whole places on fire with what we say and that the flames spread rapidly and are very disruptive. When we do set things on fire with our tongue, with gossip, slander, malice or revenge, it takes ages to correct and put the flames out, and even when we’ve extinguished the flames the damage can take a long time to repair. As we go about our lives today let’s use our tongue, not to set places ablaze, but to bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, and to honour one another. Let the Lord be your shield and defender today in all you do.
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