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.