PASTOR'S PEN: Bonfires

Associate Pastor Ron Witbeck, Resurrection Life Church Big Rapids

Associate Pastor Ron Witbeck, Resurrection Life Church Big Rapids

Courtesy photo/Ron Witbeck

I think that most of us have had our time spent around a bonfire, enjoying the fellowship, roasting hot dogs, burning marshmallows then putting them in graham crackers sandwich smothered in a section of a chocolate bar. 

Then of course there is the heat given off by the bonfire on those chilly nights, accompanied by the smoke that likes to follow us around causing our eyes to water.   

There is something about those nights spent around a bonfire. As we gaze into the flames, we can become spellbound. We are kind of lost to the world and its troubles, instead drawing closer to those around us. Even with the coolness of the night and the dampness of the dew, we find ourselves moving even closer to the fire and its heat. 

Jesus and his disciple spent many nights gathered together around a bonfire, more out of necessity than pleasure, cooking and attempting to stay warm. It was a way of life back then and blessings they received as they listened to the master. He taught them of the love that God has for all of us and the shocking news of why He came paying an ultimate price for theirs and our freedom, His life.

Maybe with the next ‘Bonfire’ we can take the time to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made for each of us. Recalling some of the Words that He left for us, then imagine Him sitting there amongst us, enjoying the peace and rest.

Perhaps one of the last bonfires with the disciples, mentioned in John 21:9-10 and 12-14 ...

“When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”

Some will gather around bonfires this Fourth of July weekend, celebrating Independence Day. There will be fireworks, time off of work and a time to relax. Let’s not forget all the lives given for us protecting our Nation's Freedom and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made providing us with an eternity with Him.

— Ron Witbeck is an associate pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Big Rapids.