There was a woman who lived alone and had but one companion, her beloved golden retriever. She loved her dog like nothing else. She cared for the dog better than she cared for herself, often times sacrificing her own scarce food to nourish the dog. The woman had bought the dog a toy when the dog was but a pup. The dog loved this toy and often slept with it. Most often times neglecting the woman for the toy. One night the woman came home from work to find her home engulfed in flames. She searched frantically for the dog among the onlookers and the fire crew already there trying to fight the blaze. A fireman heard her cries and asked what was she so frantic about. She told him that she couldn’t find her dog and that he must still be inside. Seeing the agony in the woman’s eyes at the loss of her dog he dashed into the burning home to find him. Screams from his fellow crew to come back accompanied him as he ran inside. He found the dog huddled in a corner with a toy in his mouth. The fireman scooped up the weighty dog and began the treacherous job of finding his way back through the blanket of smoke while the sunset flames licked his heels. Along the way, a beam that could no longer bear the weight of the home, came crashing down landing on the back of the fireman. With great struggle and tremendous pain he managed to get up and continue carrying the dog to safety, who lost his toy in the fall. As the fireman struggled the last few feet to the door, the dog began to wrestle in his arms. He held on tight to the dog so as to not lose him to the flames. They hit the outside air with a force from his fellow crew, who were anxiously awaiting to see him emerge. They grabbed the dog and immediately started attending to the fireman’s burns, for the beam had not only fractured his back but burnt through his gear. Yet, no quicker had they handed the dog over to the woman, than the dog let loose and dashed back into the house. When the flames had taken their last breath and turned to embers, the firemen found the body of the dog laying atop his toy. The fireman who had rescued the dog had been taken to the hospital where his injuries were deemed too extensive and died a few days later. His sacrifice being in vain.
You may read this and think, what a stupid dog. Not only did he trade the love of the woman who sacrificially cared for him for an object that gave him nothing (just the pleasure he thought he got from it), but he was willing to die to keep it. Yet, aren’t we like this dog? We have a Father in Heaven who cares for us like nothing else ever will, but we fill our lives with toys that bring us worldly pleasure. We focus on the toy rather than the One who gave it. We seek for ourselves the riches of the moment rather than the love of a lifetime. Not only that, but when we are lost in flames with no way of escape, the Father sent His Son to rescue us. Sacrificing Himself and His own life for yours. But what do we do? As soon as we are rescued we run back into the fire. Making Christ’s sacrifice in vain.
We are rescued – over and over again we are rescued, by the power of the blood of Christ, so why do we keep running back to the things that ultimately will lead us to eternal death? Because we are sinful and stupid creatures.
So as we come upon Passion Week and Resurrection Sunday, let us pause a moment and identify those things that can lead us back into the fire. May we recognize the sacrifice of Christ so that it may not be in vain, but bring Him glory! May we see the love of our Heavenly Father and make that our joy!
May your Passion week be full of passion for our Lord and His Son Jesus Christ – to Him be the glory and honor forever AMEN.
stock fire photo courtesy of Aideon