3 Leviticus 6:8-13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 9 Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it. 10 And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. 11 And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.12 And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.
God wants His fire to keep burning on the altar. This was mentioned five times in six verses. As Accelerated Christian Education celebrates fifty years of God’s faithfulness, we as educators – whether pastors, administrators, supervisors, or monitors – are responsible for the fire entrusted to us. We need to make sure that the fire of individualized Biblical education does not burn out in our hearts. The fire in our hearts is lit by God but we must keep it burning.
TWO FIRE MAINTAINERS
First, the altar must be cleaned daily. We need to come to God on a regular basis for the cleansing of our personal altars. What usually weighs us down are not the big sins but the “small foxes” that
slowly fill our hearts. Offenses, hurts, and bitterness creep in quietly and slowly, and if not surrendered to God, can begin to fill our hearts and extinguish the fire. Our altars must be clean in God’s eyes. Ash is the solid residue of combustion. Ashes are yesterday’s fire and can suffocate the fire and prevent the fire from burning as hot and as bright as it might. Old ashes are things that happened in the past. We need to pray Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Second, the fire must be tended. To keep the fire burning all day and all night requires effort. It must be intentional. We need to keep stirring up the vision that God has entrusted to us. We need to encourage one another to stir up our fire to full flame.
As Christian educators, it is ourresponsibility to keep our hearts on fire – not only for the ministry – but for God, first and foremost.
We also need to recognize that there are things that could extinguish the fire in our hearts. The first extinguisher is preoccupation. The devil wants to keep us distracted so that we will shift our focus from the vision on to other things. Discouragement can distract us. Financial difficulties can distract us. We can be distracted when
we become simply mechanical in doing our responsibilities devoid of the why we do what we do. We can be distracted when we spend less time with God and more time on amusing ourselves with other things. It is funny that amuse actually means “not thinking.” Someone said that the brain is more active when asleep than when we are watching TV. David said in Psalm 39:3 – “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.” Take note of the word musing – to think, to meditate – as opposed to amusing.
Prayerlessness is the other fire extinguisher. “You have not because you ask not.” Prayer is not the least we can do. It is the most we can do. A story was told of a soldier who was going to save a buddy in the battlefield. He kept looking at his watch and at exactly 9:00 he ran to get his buddy. His superior asked him why he waited instead of immediately saving his friend. The soldier responded, “My Mama prays for me every day at 9:00.” He knew he was covered. He knew the power of prayer.
As we continue to pursue the vision of Accelerated Christian Education, let us not allow the fire to die down. The only way we can light the world is by keeping the fire burning in our hearts.