By Larry Sitz Kedron Church of Christ

While cutting and stacking my winter's supply of firewood, for the 52nd straight year, not counting all my teenage years on the farm, I suddenly realized that choosing, cutting, and stacking firewood, is a lot like living a Christian life.

When cruising the woods for firewood, I see many poplar, cedar, and pine trees down, but they simply won't do, I'm looking for oak, the tried and true wood that I know will burn hot and long, on cold winter nights. The same holds true for being a Christian, one must look to the one and only, tried and true, Holy Word of God. His "solid oak truth" is the only one that will stand firm and sound on that great day of judgment. While there are plenty of pine, cedar, and poplar denominational teachings out there offering you inferior council, they just won't do when the trials of that final day come upon us. One may gather a huge stockpile of firewood, but they can still freeze on cold winter nights, because of their failure to secure good solid oak. Likewise, one may have gathered a mountain of good works, by man's standards, but are they according to the commandments of God? Will their works stand firm when Jesus calls each of us to account for the deeds we have done in the body, whether they be good or bad (II Cor. 5:10)? Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:21, that not everyone who says unto me, "Lord, Lord" shall inter into the Kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father, which is in heaven.

The dead oak tree in my wood lot is definitely a gift from God. He has done His part, by growing and providing me with that solid oak tree. Now I must do my part, which is supplying the labor and skill to safely take the oak down, cut it into sections, move it to my home, cut and split it into stove sized pieces, stack and cover them for winter. My being able to do this kind of work, especially at my age, is also a gift from God. The Lord has done His part spiritually, by supplying us with His saving grace, and His Holy Word of commandments and instructions. Our part is to study His Word (II Tim. 2:15), keep His commandments (John 14:15), and work to spread His gospel (Mark 16:15).

Now that we have our solid oak wood cut, moved, and split into appropriate sized pieces, we must stack and cover it to make sure it dries properly, for the time of our need. As we stack our hard earned stash, we constantly check to make sure it is straight and leans neither to the right or the left, so as to withstand the winds and storms of winter, without tumbling down. Likewise, since our spiritual stores represents God's truth and how we apply it to our Christian lives, we must continually check that our spiritual abundance is straight, secure, and level in the eyes of the Lord. Precisely aligned by His plumb line of holy truth, to stand firm against the wiles of the devil in this present evil world.

Some say they never cut firewood in the summer, but will just wait until it's cold and frosty to start. Since I have been there and done that, I will never choose that route again. If something happens that renders one unable to work, where will that leave them when the snow flies? Jesus tells us in John 9:4 that He must do the work of the Father while it is day, for the night is coming when no man can work. Likewise we should act to do the Father's will while we are able, for we never know when our night may come. It could come in the form of a stroke, or accident that leaves us unable to even understand or know what the will of God is. Why not prepare now, while it is today, for the future with God's solid oak of truth, stacked rigid, high, and covered, to guard against the appointed day of judgment? We know for certain that great day is coming, to everyone that ever lived upon this earth (Acts 17:31, Heb. 9:27).