Jude 1:22,23 – Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear — hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (NIV)
I came back from church on Sunday and passed by a parade of shops. My eye was caught by the flicker of a flame rising up the height of a second floor window. I stopped, called the fire brigade, and waited for them to arrive. As I watched from my place of safety, I noticed that there was a man looking out from the next-door flat's window. He was attracted by the noise from the single large pane of glass as the flames enveloped the front of the flat and shards exploded onto the pavement below. I saw him move away from the window and I was relieved to see him safely exit the back of the flats.
Two windows to the left more faces appeared, peered out and looked down upon us looking up at them from the pavement. As I caught their gaze, I beckoned frantically for them to come down but they declined, deciding to sit tight. They were unaware of how bad the fire was, only ten yards along from their faces.
At this point, the fire brigade and the police arrived, and I made myself known to them, explained the presence of squatters in the flat, and then moved back, as they set about their work, raising a ladder to the flat to bring hoses to put out the fire.
I was struck by the lack of awareness and the potential peril of this second pair of faces. If it were not for the swift arrival of the fire brigade, the whole top floor would have been alight in a matter of seconds, because the fire was ferocious and was billowing thick black smoke.
In similar fashion, there are so many who are unaware of the great spiritual danger they are in. Today's verse speaks of our responsibility to warn them, to snatch them from the fire.
In another vein, over lunch, Caroline and I talked about how quickly the fire spread, and she reminded me of this verse:
2 Timothy 1:6-7 – For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the way that you can speak to us through everyday circumstances. Thank you for your love and grace. Grant that we would not be of those who shrink back when we hear your voice today. Amen.