Wildfire Engulfs Suburbs

Friday, August 29, 2003

Luke 12:15 – Then [Jesus] said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (NIV)

By Friday night, August 22, 2003, at least 30,000 residents of Kelowna had been forced to flee from their homes, as a wind-driven forest fire flared further out of control, and threatened the southern suburbs of the largest city in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. Firefighters, struggling to save homes being engulfed by fire, witnessed houses disappearing in a flash of flames, smoke, and explosions, often in less than two minutes. By the time people were allowed back into their neighbourhoods, 250 high-priced, recently-built homes had been reduced to holes in the ground, leaving a ghostly scene of devastation, and a grieving community in chaos, but determined to rebuild.

As people were being put on evacuation alert, their big question was, "What should we try to save?" Many had less than an hour's warning, when the wind suddenly shifted. Most people interviewed by the media indicated that they were saving irreplaceable things: first, family; second, pets; and third, photographs. One lady said, "All the rest can be replaced — it doesn't matter."

What does matter in life? Today's Scripture points out that our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions. However, we do pour our energy and our life into gaining and securing the things we own. How quickly they can be taken from us! Were they ever really ours, or were they just on loan from God?

Matthew 6:20 – But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (NIV)

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for periodically and startlingly drawing to our attention that we do not really own our possessions, but that, all too often, they own us. Help us to sit loose to what You loan us here on earth, and to concentrate on storing up treasures in heaven. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Robin Ross <rross@telus.net>
Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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