All through the winter, whenever we had paper or cardboard trash, we tossed it into the fireplace. Sometimes the fire was already burning, and the flames would immediately devour whatever new fuel had been added. Other times, though, the fire was out and the fireplace cold. Still, we would toss our paper trash into the fireplace, readying it to be used as kindling to start the next fire.
It was a helpful practice. Using the fireplace to dispose of some of that trash kept our trash cans from growing too full. And, the kids were much more likely to remember to throw away their napkins if they knew they would be given permission to toss them into the fire!
But now the weather is growing warmer. The wonderful, roaring fires have long since ceased, and all that remains are ashes that need to be cleared out.
Through the spring, we have continued to toss our paper into the fireplace. Every couple of days, we’ll light up whatever is in there and burn it in a short-lived fire. Then it will go out and we’ll begin to add to the pile again. But, we’ve noticed that the fire isn’t quite as pleasant on a warm spring day. In fact, the quick burn can make the living room just a little bit too warm.
Once our lovely southern summer arrives, we will probably completely abandon the practice until the fall coolness is restored. When the temperatures are already in the upper 90’s and 100’s, it’s hard to even contemplate turning on the oven to cook a meal, much less adding to the heat by burning trash.
Despite the heat, though, burning paper is still a rather efficient way to get rid of it. That doesn’t change simply because the temperatures change.
Often when our methods for dealing with spiritual things get too uncomfortable, we decide that we want to change. The heat is too much, so we pull back. The efficiency makes others uncomfortable, so we ease off. The walking isn’t nearly as smooth, so we find a better trail.
Amazing as it may be, God’s way of working through us in this world is sometimes more uncomfortable than burning trash on a humid, 100-degree day. But, we can’t walk away from it just because we’re a little – or even a lot – uncomfortable. We must stay the course. We must continue in the path. We have to sacrifice our comfort for the sake of God’s work through us in this world.
I want to be willing to spiritually burn trash in the summer. Anyone with me?