I am pretty good at building bonfires. But today I decided to save time and skip several steps that have always worked for me. I put the newspaper into a stack instead of balling it up. I worked the fire in only one spot instead of starting three of four small fires. I tried to start the fire with only a tiny pile of kindling. It didn’t work. It was a complete failure and I ended up starting over and building the fire using the system that I have proven to be successful many times. I cheated and it cost me.
It is true that starting a fire takes time and effort. More importantly, to get a fire going you have to: 1) start the fire in several areas with the proper amount of air flow, 2) obtain the right fuel, and 3) have a reliant source of flame. Cheat on any one or more of those three steps and it is unlikely that your fire will light and grow quickly.
I first learned this lesson while on a teen group campout. After a rough first night out, we woke to a gentle rain. Unfortunately, our youth group leaders had neglected to put the firewood under cover and everything was wet; starting a fire was going to be tough. After several false starts, they began to get a little frantic, adding more wood and newspaper without success. And then Melinda stepped in; she was a Girl Scout. As the leaders went for more newspaper, she gathered small twigs and sticks. As the leaders put out a flame by dumping gasoline onto it, she built a teepee looking structure from her pile of sticks. As the leaders debated gathering more firewood, she struck a match and then bent down, gently blowing on a small flame that moved from the match to teepee of twigs. As the leaders watched, Melinda slowly added one piece of firewood after another, encouraging the flame to grow into a good sized fire. Before long, the Girl Scout-built fire was ready to be used for cooking.
At times I have neglected to use the strategies that I know have been successful for me in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in using new tools. But, often the situation requires that we do what we have learned works, what we do best.
Don’t neglect to use the knowledge you gained through experience.
“Being wise is better than being strong; yes, knowledge is more important than strength.” (Proverbs 24:5)
p.s. My holiday series (“We Gather Together 14”) will start on November 1 and continue through December 25. Last year’s series (“25 Days of December”) came out via email and FB posts. This year’s series will be sent from my blog site: http://wegathertogether14.com Sign up today and be part of this year’s celebration. (More details are on the link — check it out.)