Frank was a large man……… a very large man. He was the first employee I ever hired at my first cabinet shop. He had a great sense of humor and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him, but he had a drinking problem. He never tried to hide it; in fact, it was quite the opposite. He fully admitted his problem ……. he loved beer. Once he told me that he drank at least one six-pack every night. I’m pretty sure that he topped that limit more than once during the year and a half we worked together.
The little shop where we built the cabinets was extremely small, about the size of a two car garage. There really wasn’t room for one person much less two. But we managed, me with my little frame and Frank with his big one.
One thing that is true for every wood shop is that you create waste. Pieces of scrap wood begin to pile up and if you don’t figure out how to use them or discard them, they become a hazard. It’s against the law today, but in 1983 in Oconee County GA, it was okay to burn left over wood without a permit. (Today the stuff has to be hauled to a landfill.) After cutting cabinet parts for a couple of months, we had collected enough pieces for a sizable bonfire. One winter day, when there wasn’t much to do, I instructed Frank to go out back and burn the scraps. He busily collected the last scraps that were still in the shop, then began trying to light the fire. He wasn’t having much luck; I guess the wood was a little damp from being outside. Finally his frustration peaked; he noticed a gas can in the corner and decided that would do the trick. I warned him to be careful with gas; it has an unpredictable way of igniting.
( I suppose I should take a break from the story for one moment and explain something for those of you who don’t know the properties of gasoline. Every firefighter in America will tell you, “Never use gasoline to start a fire.” The chances of getting severely burned are extremely high. It’s not the liquid gas that ignites; it’s the fumes. Don’t ever use gasoline to light a fire!)
I don’t remember if Frank was intoxicated that day. All I know is he ignored my warning; he began to empty about three gallons of gasoline all over and even around the pile of wood…………….. The match never made it out of Frank’s hand……… at the first spark ……….KABOOM !! It sounded like someone dropped a bomb on us. The explosion literally shook the glass in the window panes of the business next door causing everyone inside to rush out to see what happened. When they saw the 15 foot high flames, they thought for sure our shop had experienced an explosion and was on fire. If Frank had actually gotten hurt, it wouldn’t have been funny ………….. fortunately, he wasn’t hurt. The memory of that large man dancing to get away from those flames is permanently branded on my brain. I can’t think of it and not laugh. And there was Frank, looking sheepish ………. with all the hair singed off his face.
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…..
The Greek word for “power” in this verse is dunamis which is the same word from which we derive “dynamite.” The idea Paul is trying to convey is that the gospel doesn’t just cause a spark in our hearts; it has the power to ignite a chain reaction that propels us for the rest of our lives.
Today’s mug is raised to all the fire fighters of the world. May they remain cautiously unafraid and may the Lord keep them safe!