Daily Lessons

   Sorry that the “Wisdom of the Week” is late this week. I spent the first two days hauling and splitting firewood.  One of the fellas in our church had spotted a large larch tree which had just died and was accessible from the highway about 30 miles out of Libby, so Monday some seven of us from our church headed out there with our trailers and pickups and chainsaws and wedges and mauls.  As we prepared to fell the large tree people were stopping along the highway to see what was going on and some asked if they could stay to watch the tree come down (they ‘split’ as soon as the hard work started!).    
     Well, we ended up with five loads of firewood on Monday and some of us went back Tuesday to finish and got another three loads!  As we were working Monday morning–when I usually do “Wisdom of the Week”–one of the men said,  “I’ll bet there’ll be a “Wisdom of the Week” come out of this somehow.” I replied, “I’m sure there probably will be!”  It seems that if we are open to it, there are spiritual lessons for us to learn every day as we go about our activities. All of life is really a classroom if we are teachable and looking for what God would show us each day as to where we can trust Him and apply His Word to our situations. 
     Anyway, as we  worked together I was reminded of a number of truths from God’s Word which applied to our wood-gathering project.  So, Tom, here goes!  
     1)   First of all, the tree we felled was more than what one, or even two people would want to tackle. It required a group of us working together.  I was reminded of the importance of being part of a local assembly of believers where we have the support and encouragement of fellow believers to tackle challenges that alone would be too great. The Apostle Paul said that we are to  “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal.  6:2).  Paul used the Greek word baros which means “heavy load.” Interestingly just a few verses later Paul said “For each one shall bear his own load” (v. 5).  There is no contradiction here, for in this case Paul used a different Greek word, phortion, which means “responsibility.”  The privilege of having Christian friends who will share and help us with otherwise unbearable loads does not absolve us of the responsibility of doing our own part in carrying out our God-given responsibilities.   
     2)    We let the ones with the most logging experience do the felling of the large tree. We didn’t argue over who got the honor.  There is always some danger involved in felling trees–especially big ones–and you need someone who really knows what they are doing. The rest of us were very content to help cut up bolts, split them and load them onto the trucks.  In the body of Christ, God has equipped each of us uniquely with certain talents and gifts and we need to work together as a team, not envying another’s gifts and competing with each other (Rom. 12; I Cor. 12).  Everyone is just as important as the other as we work together, but particular tasks are best left to those who have the special gift and/or experience in that area. Those felling the tree did an excellent job and placed it right where we wanted it to go (not on the highway!)   
     3)  As we began cutting through the large-diameter log and splitting the bolts small enough to lift and load, we realized how out-of-shape we were, as we were huffing and puffing and having to take frequent “breathers.”  In our spiritual walk, when we encounter a challenging situation that tests our faith, we find out what kind of “shape” we are in spiritually. If we have kept up our time in the Word and in prayer and in Christian fellowship we are able to handle the hurdles much more readily than if we have gotten out of shape by neglecting the Word and the fellowship of believers.  When we consistently “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16 cf Eph. 5:18) and “Let  the word of Christ richly dwell within” (Col. 3:16), we don’t seem to live from crisis to crisis. Every major thing we encounter doesn’t throw us into panic mode. We don’t hyperventilate and think we can’t make it through this one. We see the situation as just another opportunity to see what God can  do and we continue to depend upon Him and with Paul can say, “I can do  all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).    
     4)  Our project was also a reminder of the reward for our labors. As a result of our time and effort, we will have some nice wood to keep our houses warm this winter. (Actually you get more warmth out of the wood than just when burning it in your wood stove, for you generate a lot of heat when cutting, splitting and stacking the wood as well!).  Sometimes in our Christian walk we get weary and think, “Is this worth it?”  But “Do not lose heart in doing  good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9).   So, “My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always  abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the  Lord” (I Cor. 15:58).  
      5)  The fella who spotted this tree could have just kept it a secret and gone out on his own and tried to get all the wood for himself.  But, he was willing to share with others what he discovered.  When the four lepers who had been living outside the gate of the city of Samaria which was under siege by the Arameans wandered into the camp of the Arameans, they  discovered it had been vacated and all the food and belongings left behind. They began eating and drinking and taking the belongings for themselves and “Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent…Now therefore come, let us go and tell the king’s household” (II Kgs. 7:9).  If you have discovered new life in Christ, then don’t hoard the “Good News” to yourself. People all around you are dying without Christ and desperately need to hear about Him–from you! 
      6)  As we were finishing up yesterday, one of the men said,  “Well, fellas, this has been fun!”  And it was. It was very hard work, but working together for a common profitable goal, brings a  satisfaction during the process and a sense of camaraderie that makes even challenging projects enjoyable.  When, in the body of Christ, we work together facing challenges which are too much for one to bear, there is joy in the camaraderie that develops as we become “God’s fellow workers” (I Cor.3:9).  The Bible uses the word  koinonia which is usually translated  “fellowship” or “partnership” (Acts 2:42; I Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:5; I Jn. 1:3).  
     Every day there are lots of Biblical lessons for us to learn. Just look for them and thank God for them. The principles from His Word are very practical and fit everyday life situations. Watch for them today. 
     Well, I need to go split some firewood! 
                   Forever His,
                              Pastor Dave


About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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