The Barn is on Fire….
The picture you see above is one that I took in September of 2010. I was visiting my mom and step-dad at the farmhouse where I grew up in Illinois. We looked out across the field and saw a little smoke, not an uncommon sight, maybe someone burning some trash or brush. We went back to what we were doing. Then about 10 minutes later, we realized that it was something far bigger. Our neighbor’s barn was ON FIRE! This barn housed honey-making equipment that provided extra income for the retired couple that had lived across the field from us for longer than I had been alive. I played in that barn with his grandchildren. They bought it from my dad in the early ’60’s when my dad purchased the farm fresh out of the US Army. In 35 minutes, it was gone. Fireman and EMS crews came to do nothing more than contain the fire, treat heat and smoke inhalation for the fireman, and let it burn to the ground.
From across the field, there was nothing we could do. Several neighbors came to our house to make sure that first – it wasn’t our farmhouse, and second – do the same thing we were doing…watch helplessly.
There is an Emergency in Our Rural Towns…
Jude 1:22-23 ESV says:
And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out ofthe fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Our small and rural towns are drying up. The churches there are either closing up or circling the wagons to try and maintain what they have. Mark Willard stated it very well..
The church used to be the cultural center of the community. Now the church is where the community goes to bury its dead.
Our Neighbors are being consumed by the destroying fire of poverty, of distracting amusements, of materialism, or worst of all of ignorance! We have no one to blame for that ignorance but ourselves – believers who simply ignore the commands Christ gave us in Acts 1:8. We cannot simply stand by helplessly when we have the living water that will quench all that is consuming their lives (John 4:13).
We must run to the fires, tell them there is a better way, and show them the abundant life that we have been given in Christ. With the power and hope that the Gospel provides, we can make a difference, one conversation, one life at a time.