When a Fire Takes Away Everything You Own

Two of my high school classmates recently lost their homes to fires. The same thing nearly happened to us this past Saturday. I was away at church. Tammy was home with our son, Ben, and his wife Emily. Tammy broiled something in the oven. She looked away just a bit too long. Next thing she knew she looked into the oven and it was filled with flames.

Tammy yelled to Ben to call 911. Of all times for him to be away from his phone this was it. He is never away from his phone. It’s attached to his hand. But this one time he didn’t have it. So she grabbed our fire extinguisher, pulled the pin, aimed it into the oven, and shot. Just like that the fire was out. And just like that there was extinguisher residue all over the house.

By the time I came home it was all cleaned up. Tammy was still shaken up. It could have been much, much worse. We could be homeless today.

But we’re not. When Tammy told me what happened, the first thing I thought about is what I would miss if our house burned down. I honestly couldn’t think of too many things that simply couldn’t be replaced. But this event reminded me:

  • There are plenty of things I should get rid of. If I wouldn’t miss it if it were lost in a fire, maybe I should give it away, donate it, or recycle it.
  • The most important things in life aren’t things. There’s nothing more important than faith and family. I would never want to lose either of them. Thankfully neither have been taken away.
  • Even though I wouldn’t miss much of my “stuff,” it would be horrible if I lost it. I’m certainly not wishing I would lose my earthly possessions. They do mean something, or I wouldn’t have them. But I had better remember that their lasting value is limited.
  • A home in which to live ought not be taken for granted. It’s so nice to come home at the end of a day and find a place that is comfortable and filled with the people and the things that are significant to us.
  • A fire extinguisher is a mighty important thing to have. You never know when you’ll need it.

How do you take stock of your priorities?

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