Cleaning the Chimney

Chronicle XXII, probably the last in this 40 day venture.

No.  I am not a chimney sweep. Although I have done my share of helping clean stove pipes in the old farm house where I matured.  I am referring to the tall glass pieces that fit on top of kerosene lamps.

We had no electricity on our farm until 1952.  Our house was a quarter of a mile from the nearest electric line and the REA (Rural Electric Company) required that our family pay for stringing the line that distance if we wanted electricity.  Our nearest neighbor, Mortimer Oliphant, was a bachelor who really didn’t care to have electricity so he didn’t want, nor could he afford, electricity.  So we waited.

Mom cooked over a wood stove, we pumped our own water when the wind wasn’t blowing, and depended on kerosene lamps for lighting.  We each seemed to have our responsibility when it came to the lamps.  My grandfather kept the wicks trimmed, and replaced them when they became too short.  My father kept the lamps filled with fuel, and as soon as my mom could pass off her responsibility to me, she did.  My job was to keep the chimneys clean.  My hands were small and naturally equipped for the job, she explained.

It seemed careless to me that the men in my life could so easily allow soot to fill the inside of those glass cylinders!

How carelessly we allow the soot of sin to keep the light from diffusing to those around us.  Thoughtless acts of selfishness, tainted truth, laziness, prayerlessness, unread Bibles—those are all soot bearing obstacles to shining our light clearly.

Collectively as a nation, our chimneys have collected soot.  Ah, but God promises us that if the people, called by His name, turn from their wicked ways, He will forgive and heal our land. (II Chronicles 7:14)  For these past 36 days I have not only confessed my own sin, but also the sin of my nation.

Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. . .”  Matthew 5:14   

As long as our country is led by people who walk in darkness, our lights will be purposefully hidden.  Are you praying that our lights will be able to boldly shine and truth be revealed?  We need to keep our chimney clean, yes, but it also needs to be allowed use!

Why hide our lights?  Jesus also declared in John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” 

Wickedness will dwell among us, but it need not lead.  Not if we keep our chimney clean.



  1. Karyl, I like your analogy. I, too, was in charge of cleaning the chimneys of kerosene lamps in my childhood, growing up on a boat. (I had to trim the wicks, too.)

  2. Glenda

    Another great object lesson, Karyl! Thank you for this reminder. Those kerosene lamps did no good unless they were lit, and the byproduct of that light was the soot, which made it difficult to see the light. As we go about our daily lives, there is lots of soot that will accumulate without any effort on our part, and we must keep our eyes open so that we can keep it cleared out! Bad attitudes, frowns, negative thoughts, anger, cruelty, vulgar language, and numerous other things that will rub off on us can spoil our testimony and rob us of our joy in Christ if we allow it. I’m praying that we will come out of this 40 days as much stronger individuals, and that will make us a much stronger nation.

  3. Excellent Post!!! You caught me completely off guard on this one…. Very Good…. Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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