No, this is not a plug for Smokey Bear, although he's got a good point. If you're done with a real fire, put it out.
Instead, this is what I was contemplating this morning as I released a more greenhouse gases and sequestered carbon through my chimney. Yesterday, we built our first fire in the fireplace here in Almyra. It was a bit of a challenge, because the fireplace is huge, and I didn't take the time to split some good kindling. Overnight, the fire fuel burned up, but there were a few coals left, and I brought in some smaller wood to get started this morning. I got the fire mostly restarted, and then it seemed to simmer down to just some coals again, but with lots of wood and heat in the fireplace.
So I got down in front of the fireplace, took a deep breath, and blew hard right at the hottest part of the wood. The wood burst into flame, and now we've got a good crackling fire in the fireplace.
A few thoughts on this:
1. Take the time to prepare the fire properly. Yesterday, had I taken time to split some thin pieces, or even gathered twigs from the yard, I could have started the fire much more quickly.
2. Properly tended, a fire will never stop burning.
3. When everything is right, a little movement of breath will cause a fire to ignite.
So, what about the "responsibility" word in the title? Well, churches and the work of God are somewhat like my fire experience over the past 2 days:
Our churches are meant to be hot in obedience to God. We should be a place where the flame of the Spirit burns brightly as we are the light of the world. So:
1. Take the time to prepare the fire that is your life properly: split the wood, discipline yourself to take the time you need to be ready for the work of God.
2. Properly tend: keep the Word of God close, and ready in your mind and heart.
3. The Holy Spirit will breathe in and through, ignite the wood of your life from the glowing coals of the Word.
It's your responsibility to be ready, and to bring into your life the Word. The Spirit of God will follow.
And guess what? The same thing is true of the church you're a part of: if the church gathers, seeks the Word, and is willing to let the Spirit "blow where he wills" (John 3), God will ignite your church such that He will change your community through it. And if your community is changed with the Gospel, you'll change your region, and you'll change the world….