“He makes His messengers winds, His ministers a flaming fire.”
– Psalm 104:4
As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, these words jumped off the page of my Psalter this morning as I prayed.
He makes… His ministers a flaming fire.
It was a refreshing statement to read and to pray for this morning. The thought of fire, its benefits, its uses, and its blessings filled my mind.
Fire is a Source of Light
One of the first benefits, uses, and blessings that fire gives is light. In the age of electricity that might not mean much to us, yet fire does produce light. Imagine camping in a thick forest. It’s pitch black and you’re alone. What might help you see and what might help you feel not so alone?
You could whip out your trusty flashlight, but if you’re like me, you forgot to put fresh batteries in the flashlight! So, soon your light is gone.
But, then you make a fire. And that fire illumines that dark forest and immediately you don’t feel so alone.
Ministers of God are to be like a fire shinning into the darkness of a dark forest. They are beacons of light!
In the past, beacons of fire would be lit as a signal to others to come to one’s aid. Or, the beacon would warn others that trouble was near. In many ways, the ministers of God ought to be beacons of fire to others. A flame that draws others to the gospel. A burning beacon warning allies of the enemy.
Light gives hope. This world is a dark forest filled with all sorts of nasty things. But, God makes His ministers a flaming fire to shrink back the darkness and expose it all to His light.
Fire is a Source of Heat
Another benefit, use, and blessing of fire is that it gives off heat. Go back to that dark forest you’re camping in. You need light to see, but you also need warmth. A flashlight won’t do the trick.
So, you light a fire. Not soon after, your body welcomes the flickering flames of heat radiating from the fire.
Fire as a source of heat can do many other things than simply give you warmth. Fire can warm and cook your food. Fire can boil your water for tea. In the past, a fire was used to heat bath water!
Ministers of God ought to be like the heat of a fire. Ministers serve the warm food of the Word to their people. It would be a devastating thing to serve frozen steak to the masses. So, in the pastor’s study, the minister prepares the meal and serves the warm food of the Word to hungry souls.
Fire is Dependent upon Fuel
In order to keep a fire going you have to continually tend to it. The shadows of that dark forest can’t creep back in if you toss more wood on the fire!
Fire also needs oxygen to burn. Fire doesn’t burn in a vacuum. It needs air.
So does God’s minister. The minister is dependent upon the fuel of God. Everything the minister does requires God’s wood. God’s fuel.
The minister must constantly watch the fire of his soul and feed it with the fuel of the Lord to keep it burning, to keep it hot, and to keep the light present.
The Negatives of Fire
Despite all the benefits, uses, and blessings of fire, it can become destructive. If left unchecked, fire can soon escape the confines of the fire-pit to burn down a forest. If used wrongly, fire can maim and even kill.
At one moment fire can bless God’s people. In the next, fire can consume God’s people.
Minister of God, be careful with your flaming fire. It is the gift of God to benefit yourself and His people. It is the kindness of God to be used for many different daily activities. It is the grace of God to be a blessing and to advance His kingdom. And lastly, don’t forget from where this beneficial, useful, and blessed fire comes:
It is the LORD who makes His ministers a flaming fire.