The Little Things

The Little Things

Fall and Spring are my favorite times of year.

“For who hath despised the day of small things?”
Zechariah 4:10a

There’s something about a fire that draws me in (the sight, the sounds, the smell)…really it brings people together. Since the first strike and ignition, fires have provided many things, but warmth, cooking, cleaning, and protecting ourselves from harm seems to rise the surface.

Nowadays, for many folks however, a fire has been relegated to convenience, at best. What I’m trying to say is that a fire’s purpose for most of us today is ambiance. Now, I’m the first to say that ambiance is important. A fire sets the tone for any room or environment unlike any lamp or light bulb every could dream of creating. However, for most of us today, that’s the extent of a fire.

Over the years, I’ve burned a fire outside for the very reason of ambiance. If you know me well enough, then you know that the temperature doesn’t dictate whether or not a fire is burning in our outdoor fire pit. For that reason, I’m constantly foraging for wood that might burn well and keep the desirable environment all around. At the same time, we’ve looked for property that would provide the wood onsite as my source.

As the Lord would have it, my family and I moved just north of Denton to a little piece of property covered with woods. It was a dream for us for many reasons, but one of the main ones was bringing the old purpose of a fire–for warmth–to bear when the season turns cold. And so, as we renovated our new cozy little house, we added a wood stove that more than accomplished that desire.

One of the main (and inconvenient) challenges of a wood stove is lighting the fire. In my old house, I had a gas line that was used to get the wood burning. In my outside fire pit, I used lighter pine (fatwood) that my father-in-law and I foraged from east Texas. It’s a great natural starter, but puts off a lot of creosote, and thus should be used sparingly when burned through a flue. And so, the reality of starting a fire from scratch every time in my new wood stove can be somewhat daunting if not approached in the right way. A good fire start has to be built with varying thicknesses of wood. The easy part of having a fire is splitting the bigger burning logs. Most of us use a maul, wedges, or even a hydraulic splitter. I’ve used these and more to get the logs ready to season and burn. However, the more challenging step in getting a fire from scratch ready is gathering enough kindling without bark. This aspect can’t be overlooked, but it can’t be overstated. You’ll spend many hours trying to get a fire started without the use of kindling. It’s critical to the light, but it’s also tedious.

That, however, is exactly why I wrote this article. The tediousness of the splitting of kindling wood. As I was splitting and storing all the kindling that I’ll need for this year and beyond, I took a picture below of my set up.

The wood I’m splitting is virtually free of knots. It’s solid red oak that has been seasoned for a good bit. For all these reasons, the wood will start easy, it will burn long, and it will burn hot. Really, the kindling is the base of the fire, and without it I’m better off not even trying. As I was splitting this wood last night, I thought of being faithful in the small things to appreciate the greater things. It takes a lot of swings with my dead-blow mallet to get that solid red oak to cooperate and be shaped into proper kindling, and at the same time it’s fundamentally necessary if my family is going to enjoy the warmth of a consistent fire when the temperatures drop this season and beyond. And so, I split the wood, because I want the warmth and the ambiance of a fire!

How Does This Apply to Us Today?

  1. What in your life is so small, but so critical to experiencing a greater reality?
  2. What small things are you avoiding, because of laziness, apathy, indifference, or whatever?
  3. How are you handling your money…your passions for sexual intimacy…your casual relationships…your work responsibilities…your family responsibilities?

May God gives us the strength to see that the small things, because they lead to bigger things, are therefore just as important as the big things! May we then be faithful in the little things and not despise the day of small beginnings. Amen.

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