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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once wrote about a town where a fireman lived. Everyone liked the fireman because he was a nice guy. He made it a habit to be gentle and kind, which was unusual for firemen, who were supposed to be rough and tough.

There was a fire one day, and the fireman charged to the scene of the fire with his fellow firemen and heavy equipment. As they came toward the fire, much to their surprise and chagrin, they encountered between themselves and the flames about two hundred townspeople. And each of them was standing there with a water pistol, aiming at the fire, going squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt.

The fireman asked, "What's going on here?" a spokesman for the group turned and said, "Well, we all appreciate this wonderful work you're doing in our community, and each of us has come to contribute in some small way to your work." Squirt, squirt.

The fireman said, "I don't get it. You're all crazy!"

"Oh, we realize that we all could do more, couldn't we, folks?" said the spokesman.

"Most definitely," everyone said, "But we just wanted to offer this token of our support. "Squirt, squirt.

"You don't know what you're doing!" shouted the fireman.

"True, but you have to appreciate the fact that everyone is willing to offer whatever help they can," said the spokesman.

And everyone said, "Amen!" and went squirt, squirt.

At that, the fireman shouted, "You people get out of here right now! This is no picnic, this is a fire, and a fire doesn't require well-meaning people who come to make small contributions. A fire is a place where people come to give their lives."

Sometimes we, in the church, are a lot like those people.

"We all appreciate the work you elders are doing" Squirt, Squirt. "Our preachers are doing a great job." Squirt, squirt. "We want to let you know that we support all that you're trying to do." Squirt, squirt. "We bring what we can - it's not much, but the little bit we can offer to the work of the kingdom we gladly give." Squirt, squirt

And one hears the celestial fireman say, "Will you please get out of here! What I am looking for are disciples who are totally committed and willing to die for the sake of the gospel!"

Following Jesus means being willing to follow Him to the cross if necessary. "And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:38-39).

Tim Woodward
Smithville Church of Christ