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Keep the Fire Burning

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

"There won't be many more campfires this summer!" Mom sighed as she put down an armload of logs. "But," she added cheerily, "fall brings lots of fun, too."

Jase nodded. "I'm going to try out for the football team," he said. He glanced at his sister. "And Monica gets to start going to youth group this year."

Monica shrugged. "I'm not sure if I want to go, " she said. "Do I have to?"

"Why wouldn't you want to go?" asked Mom. "It's a good place to develop close friendships with other Christians."

"Yeah, but since we moved here, I haven't gotten to know any of the church kids very well yet," Monica said. "Besides, do my friends have to be Christians to be good friends?"

"Of course not," Dad said, as he carefully piled logs on the fire, "but there is something special about having Christian friends." He looked at the logs he had just stacked, and then knocked them apart with a stick.

"Those logs aren't going to burn good like that," said Monica. "One of the first things you taught us about building fires was to place them against each other."

"Do you remember why?" asked Dad.

"Because that way they create more heat and keep each other burning," replied Monica.

"Right," said Dad. "Did you know that Christians are like logs? On our own, without the encouragement of other Christians, it's harder to 'keep burning' for Jesus. When cold winds blow, the warmth of close Christian fellowship encourages us to be true to God."

"What do you mean by cold winds?" Monica asked.

"Oh . . . things like sickness, loss of work, pressure to do things that won't please God," said Dad. "When you're faced with trials and temptations, won't it be helpful to have friends to pray for you and encourage you?"

"Okay," said Monica thoughtfully, "I'll give youth group a try for two reasons."

"What are they?" asked Dad.

"One is that I know you're right about needing Christian friends," replied Monica, "and the other is . . ." She grinned. "The other is that I kn ow you'll make me go anyway!"

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