Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hold Me!

So I was sitting around and talking with God Monday morning before I went to the office. I told him that I felt like a "Duraflame." You know what a Duraflame is. It's one of those fake logs. A log wannabe. You put it in your fireplace and light the wrapper and it burns for about three hours all by itself. No other logs needed. You can't do that with a regular log. Regular logs need other logs. You light some kindling and then put other logs loosely around the top of the kindling and the logs catch fire and burn together. But a single log all alone? It might catch fire briefly but it won't keep burning. It needs other logs. Duraflames have wood in them but they also have waxy stuff that allows them to burn on their own. But when they burn out it's pretty ugly. They just turn to a bunch of smoldering and scorched dust on the bottom of your fireplace.

Christians are like logs. We have to burn together if we really want to burn for the glory of God. If we try to be Duraflames we will last a while. We might even make a nice flame that all those who look on will admire. But sooner or later you'll burn out. And it will be ugly.

Lately I've been a Duraflame, trying to burn all by myself. I told God that I recognized that and that I needed help finding the right logs to lean up against. Guys to be real with and burn with. About an hour later I got a call at my office. It was from a long time friend in a far away state. Actually, my friend didn't call me. His Administrative Assistant did. It seems he was wanting to set up a regularly scheduled conference call with me because he wants to be a log and not a Duraflame. Okay, she didn't phrase it that way but that's what it meant. We talked for about half an hour today. I have one log now and that's a start.

Then I was driving to a hospital today to visit and on impulse I dialed another friend up on my phone. He was driving between assignments on his job. I told him I am a Duraflame and that I want to be a log. I asked him to be a log with me. He told me that God had said the same thing to him on Monday of this week. Hmmm. God had a busy Monday. I have two logs now and that's more than a start.

And then after I finished working out at the gym today I was listening to the television above my head as I dressed. Some ESPN type guy was talking about Andre Agassi and how he has just confessed to using crystal meth and performance enhancing drugs in his tennis playing days. He retired in 2006. The ESPN type guy said that the problem in professional sports these days is that there is a difference between "Image" and "Reputation."

Now he had my attention. I sat on the bench and actually paid close attention to what he was saying. He pointed out that "image" is what people think you are. It is what you represent yourself as. It usually is not realistic when you look beneath the skin of "The Real You." On the other hand, "reputation" is who you really are. It is what you have with people who know you. People who have watched your life play out and understand your credibility ... or lack of it. He said that Andre Agassi had plenty of image and no real reputation.

I thought about being a Duraflame. "Human Duraflames" might start well but they finish lousy. They have plenty of image. They are beautiful, brightly colored, and fun to watch. Then they show their true colors and fall apart. I don't want to fall apart. Do you? I want to be a log among logs. You see, one log holds another log accountable for it's fire. For it's heat. Put several logs together, light them, and you have a mighty fine fire.

Accountability is so very important.

So I want my "log friends" to hold me. I want them to hold me accountable. I've burned out before and I don't ever want to do it again.

Andre, sorry you became the bad example. You made that choice. But perhaps something good will come of it if men ... people ... start saying to one another, "Hold me. Hold me accountable."

Just a little thing God's been reminding me about this week and thought you might like to know.


Dennis Dawson said...

Thanks, Ron. Well-stated...and well-needed by us all.

Anonymous said...

I would like to complain. I am probably not a log or a Duraflame. I do not connect well with people as you do. I am most often with a very small set of people. A lot of people say I am this and that; I am out going and friendly. But I am not out going with them. I am not but superficially friendly with them. It is not that I do not want them… but the truth is they do not really want me. The truth is they like to think about me one way and have little desire to know me at all.

I would like to be a log but I lack the character to be a log. I don’t mean I lack the strength of character. I pray, read the Bible and worship God. I love my wife and my wife loves me. In my small inner circle she is the closest to me. She and I discuss God and love and we from there go out. My so-called Christian friends have turned into christian friends. They do not want to burn and have grown to rebuke me for my being. Some say I am too conservative others say I am too liberal. Some say I focus too much on the Bible others say I am a failure because I am not as the Bible would call me to be. I say the Bible does not call me, God does. They found a fault in me, maybe I was angry in front of them or I said a joke that was received wrong. I agree I have sinned. Have they not sinned?

I am fairly solitary as a Christian. One or Two or possibly three logs might join me and we may start to burn. But I am told the fire we make does not consume, it refines. I want to set the whole world on fire.

I guess that is what you want too. Pray for me. Continue to include me in your fire through this blog.