November 2020, Vol. 39, No. 11

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When Small Fires Become Big Fires

posted on November 9, 2020

[264 words]

A few weeks ago, I was burning the wood from two trees that had to be cut down. I’d piled the wood as far from any other tree as possible, but the fire was so hot that a branch about 30 feet above and off to the side of the fire started to smoke in several places.

Even though I was spraying water on the fire the whole time and had wet down the nearest trees, the heat continued to grow as some of the larger logs caught fire.

With some embarrassment, I asked Heather to call the fire department.

It wasn’t an emergency yet, but I could tell I was losing ground and knew I couldn’t reach that high branch if it caught on fire.

I asked the fireman in charge if it was foolish to call before there was a real emergency. He said, “Absolutely not. I’d rather calmly deal with a potential problem than have to deal with a more dangerous situation. With fire, little problems turn into big problems quickly.”

The Bible says, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (James 3:5).

When we misuse our words, little problems can become big problems quickly.

When is the best time to control a fire? Before it becomes an inferno. “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out” (Prov 17:14).

May God give us the wisdom to not add fuel to fiery tongues.

Kevin Hahn
Graeber Road church of Christ
Rosenberg, TX

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