The Dwindling Woodpile (Hebrews 4:9-10)

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10)

This morning, I journeyed with my son to my brother’s house. Wayne had dropped a couple of large trees that posed a threat to his house. His loss of foliage was my gain of firewood. Tom and I spend about four hours cutting, loading, driving, and unloading the wood–three loads of wood.

I’m thrilled to see a large pile of soon-to-be split-and-stacked wood appear outside my woodshed. Each winter begins with a sprawling pile of firewood, a supply sure to last throughout the cold months.  That pile dwindles far more quickly than I would wish to see. As the available splits disappear into ash and smoke, my chainsaw springs into action. I fight a rear-guard action, hoping that the wood will last until spring.

I’m typically a calm person, but I have to admit that I experience some stress as the woodpile disappears. Will the fire give out before winter does? Will I need to call the propane company, surrendering lots of money and my sense of self-sufficiency? Will I have to wade through knee-deep drifts of snow to bring new fuel to the house? Only when late March rolls around am I able to draw a deep breath and relax. Of course the stress kicks in again shortly thereafter as the days roll past toward the next winter. It never ends.

I suppose that’s why I can rejoice at the promise of God’s rest. Just as surely as I labor endlessly to keep my house heated, I could labor endlessly to keep my slate of good-versus-bad in the positive column, blotting out every sin with a counterweighing good deed. I could try that and fail. The work would never end. I’d watch whatever store of positive fuel I had accumulated slowly diminished. But I don’t have to do that. Thank you, Lord.