Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, prayer, priorities, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

A Tale of Two Candles

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.” 2 Timothy 4:6a

They were only two candles…but they had a story to tell.  My job is talking.  Well, maybe, hopefully, it is more than that…it is teaching and sometimes preaching.  You remember preaching, don’t you?  That is that thing your parents did to you a lot when you were fifteen going on sixteen.  Well, when I am talking, or teaching, or preaching, it is important that I try to hold the people’s attention and get truth across in a way that is easy to understand.  Jesus did that and I am definitely partial to Him and how He did things.

Recently, when I was teaching, I was talking about the fact that each of us has one life, and it is important we figure out how we want to spend it. Paul, the one in the Bible, said it like this, “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.” He was simply saying the one life he had was one he wanted to spend pleasing God.  At our church we like to say we want to spend our lives loving God and loving people.  Pretty simple, isn’t it?  To illustrate the point, I told a story about two candles.  The story is true, but I don’t have to worry about changing the names because the two candles didn’t have one.  It goes like this.

Several years ago, like five or six, my wife Judy and I bought a wall sconce.  It had a place for a candle to sit so we bought a beautiful candle which was yellow and a golden color.  The sides of the candle were carved with long, flowing ridges.  I hung the sconce and then put the candle in its new home.  And there it sat for the next five years…looking nice but never fulfilling its one purpose…to provide light.  Over the years it accumulated a thin layer of dust and the colors slowly faded.  Well, recently, we painted the room where the candle lived and when I took it and the sconce down…for the first time in a long time I took a close look and promptly tossed it in the trash.  It’s life was done and not once did it find its purpose.

Enter candle number two. It was a Saturday morning in late September and fall was in the air.  I was in my home office writing, and I finally opened the door to go downstairs.  Immediately I smelled the aroma of one of our favorite candles.  It is called Leaves and comes from Bath and Body.  Judy and I both love this candle.  I knew at once she had lit one down in the kitchen and the scent of fall had slowly made its way all the way upstairs to where I was standing.  In an instant I felt as if the seasons had changed and it was time to celebrate.

I went downstairs and sure enough there in the kitchen was the three-wick candle burning…allowing itself to be consumed.  And, in that process, two things happened.  First, the candle was fulfilling its destiny.  There would be no life spent on a shelf somewhere for this candle.  Soon, it would be gone…consumed by flame and purpose.  Second, the aroma that the candle gave as it was consumed left a longing and satisfying scent through the house.  For a while, even when the candle was no longer burning, the scent of its purpose filled the room and the house.  Soon, the glass container that held the candle will be empty and discarded but the candle won’t be there…it will have been consumed…with purpose.

I love this story because it challenges me to ask the question, “What candle do I want to be?  Do I want to be the one that stayed safely on the wall slowing dying a purposeless death or be the one that allowed itself to be consumed with purpose…the one that left a sweet aroma even after its own demise? Well, for me at this moment the answer is simple.  I want to live a life of purpose—loving God, and loving people.  I want my memory to bring a sweet aroma into the lives of those who knew me and a smile on the face of my Dearest Daddy.  I hope to hear, I want to hear, “Well done” from the One who made me.

Like Paul, the one in the Bible, I know I haven’t arrived…I still fumble the ball a lot, but that same Dearest Daddy waits to pick me up when I stumble.  I like that too, a lot.  And I’m learning that a lot of the people I bump into are graceful and understanding too.  So, if you’ve found that you are stuck somewhere on a wall, slowing fading and becoming dusty, why not come on down and fulfill your purpose…to live, to love God and people.  You will find it’s a great way to live. Oh, and don’t be afraid of failing.  We all have the confident assurance that no matter what, “He’s got this.”  Bro. Dewayne