I am reading a book by an author named Jennifer Fulwiler. She talks about her life and her search for happiness. She spends much of the beginning of the book openly explaining her young life as an atheist. She proceeds throughout the book to reveal how she fumbled through a seemingly full life with the empty feeling that something was always missing.
She goes on in the book to recount her journey of finding God and finding happiness. In other avenues I have heard her wisdom on TED talks or writings and she explains this thing she calls “Tinder.”
She explains that all kinds of people had tried to introduce her to Christ but had failed over the years…or so she thought. She talks about experiences she had encountered that stuck with her, but she couldn’t necessarily explain them or equate them with a religious meaning. She went on like this for years and at times even fought small inclinations towards a faith-discovery with determined intensity against such a journey.
The thing about this tinder is that it was laid, placed in a pile. She explains that every thing that people had told her or things in her life that had pointed towards happiness or fulfillment that she never could quite harness, were tinder…kindling. They were not useless. Not void.
I don’t think, in our own faith journey, that anything is without some meaning…it’s all tinder. When the time is right, God’s glory lights that tinder on fire. You can see it in people, in the way they move, in the way that they burn bright with happiness or faith or deep peace in Christ. It’s obvious in many people.
I think that we are all tinder for each other. We have a lot of power to influence each other. We have the means to gently offer someone our love, our encouragement, our actions…all in the effort to lay down what will fuel a flame. And even when God’s glory lights that flame within, we continue to need fuel…we continue to be asked to fuel someone else’s fire by laying down more tinder.
This is our communal faith journey. We are FOR each other. When our words, our actions, our movement among each other is pointing towards our God, He uses that tinder to keep that Glorious flame burning.
This tinder is love. It is love in words, love in hearts, love in prayer, love in action. God’s glorious love light needs tinder. We are so lucky to be loved by Him and to have been shown how to love each other by His Son.
“If I speak in tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal….If I have faith to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all that I possess to the poor…but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1COR 13: 1-3)
Tinder. We all need it. We all have the ability to BE it. Walk in the Light of Christ and throw some of that tinder to your brothers and sisters.
Let Isaiah’s word’s be your prayer, too as you live with God’s fire within you: “So shall be my words [and actions] that go out from me: They shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Wrap it up:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy or boast, it is not proud. It doesn’t not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking or easily angered and it keeps no records of wrongs. Love doesn’t not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 COR 13: 4-7)
Love, be humble, honor, be slow to anger, delight in the truth, tell it! Hope, trust, persevere………….This love is tinder.
His love lights fires within. Love never fails.