Occasionally people will drop by with articles they leave for me in my mailbox at the church. Oftentimes I have read the article before, but this one was new to me. Many thanks to the kind woman who left it for me:
There was a dedicated Christian woman who once visited a tourist attraction, which happened to be a working replica of a pioneer village; and one of the manned displays she observed was a silversmith shop.
The woman watched the silversmith as he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He then explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were the hottest, in order to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; and then she recalled the verse which says, "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."
She then asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered yes; that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh that's easy, when I see my own image in it."
Many of you feel today like you are going through a season of spiritual refinement. As an encouragement to you, the stories I'm hearing from our people is that our church is being refined, spiritual revitalization is at work, and the face of Jesus our Refiner is beginning to come into sharper focus once again. Pray with us that we would not be content to stop short.
Last weekend's sermon text came from Malachi. Perhaps you will see the correlation? 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. [Malachi 3:2-3]
We are not the first to recognize this process in motion. In college I performed "But Who May Abide" from Handel's Messiah written way back in the 1700s and I grew up singing "How Firm a Foundation" from the Baptist Hymnal written in the 1800s. More recently our congregations have sung "Refiner's Fire" and "Desert Song" to capture the essence of this Scripture as it comes to life once again to this generation.
What about you? Are you feeling God through His Word refine and burn away all the impurities in your life? Lean in. The process is intense, but I pray that in time others will see the very face of God in you!