The Lone Ember

I can’t believe the summer is gone!  Here it is … the middle of October already.  Wow, September flew by as quickly as the trees are currently dropping their leaves!  Does anyone else think time is passing too fast?

We all get so busy in the summer … it seems all we do is run.  We vacation; we spend weekends at the lake; we entertain friends around campfires; we ride bikes through the wooded countryside and hike along lazy shorelines; we garden; we play ball … we live outside!  Summer is the time we enjoy ourselves and the great outdoors.

But, the grim reality is that summer is over and the weather is changing fast in our part of the country.  It’s time to get ready … the temperature is dropping.  We’ve seen frost and a few snowflakes dancing through the air already.   And, so, with a reluctant sigh, we begin to settle into our ‘winter mode’.  Our flower pots and lawn chairs rest in storage; our dock and boat will soon leave their floaty perch on the lake; the fireplace comes on to warm our toes in the evening; we’ve become ‘armchair quarterbacks’ and we look forward to gaining that hour back we lost last spring.

I guess winter mode isn’t all that bad.  Sure, we have to stop at the door to wrestle on those heavy boots, zip up that bulky coat and search for that lost mitten every time we want to step outside (well here in Minnesota anyway) but, our pace slows and it gives us time to catch up.  Catch up on inside home or office projects.  Catch up on cleaning and sorting closets and cupboards.   Catch up with friends we haven’t talked to for quite awhile.  Catch up on things that we’ve been missing out on during the last couple of months.

A story to ponder:

A member of church, who previously had been attending services regularly, hadn’t been there for awhile.  After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.  It was a chilly evening and the preacher found the man at home,  alone and sitting before a blazing fire.  Guessing the reason for his preachers visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The preacher made himself at home but said nothing.  In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.  After a few minutes, he took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth, all by itself.  Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.  The host watched all this in quiet contemplation.  As the one lone embers’ flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.   Soon it was cold and dead.

The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.  Not a word had been spoken during the entire visit and as the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon.  I will see you in church next Sunday.”

We live in a world today, where everyone is busy and lone embers are easily forgotten, left to flicker and die.  Maybe it’s a neighbor who has fallen on despairing times. Maybe it’s that irritating kid next door whose parents are never home and he’s always stealing apples from your prized tree.  Maybe it’s a relative or old family friend who now lives a lonely life in a nursing home, surrounded only by memories, with little or no visitors.  Maybe it’s a fellow congregant we haven’t seen for awhile.  Or, maybe it’s you or me?

Because of our busyness, what do you suppose we’re missing out on?  What if it were God?  What if we were too busy to remember, or have forgotten, about His grace for us?  What if He was telling us we needed to reach out to our neighbors and friends by spending time with them, putting an arm around their shoulder, telling them we loved them, that He loved them?  What if we didn’t listen?  What if our light flickered and died?

We need each other and we need to keep our fire lit for God.  I don’t know about you, but I need to make some time and some phone calls.


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched … but are felt in the heart.

 – Helen Keller



Our crosses went to these Cross The World family members during the month of October:

Bill’s Sportsmans Service – Aitkin, MN

Don – MN

Ann – MN

The Waters Church – Sartell, MN for mission trip to El Salvadore

Processus Counseling and Consulting Services – Waite Park, MN

Helen – ND

Owendale United Methodist Church – Owendale, MI

Shirley – NJ

Thank you all for your service to Him.






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