Chuck Terrill: Winter Wood?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

“Have you got your winter wood laid by?”

That important question was asked annually by the members of a small rural congregation that I once served. It was often their main topic of discussion. It is still a relevant question, considering the cold winter days we have been experiencing.


Don’t you feel just a little bit sorry for our pioneer ancestors? During days like these it would be clearly evident if they had failed to prepare for hard times. An unchinked crack in a log house would become a high velocity tunnel for a cold North wind. An unpatched roof might result in a bed being blanketed by snow on top of a hand sewn quilt. An unattended fire could cause the drinking dipper to be frozen in the water bucket by morning. There are consequences when you haven’t prepared for winter.

A good indication of a family’s preparedness for cold winter would be the size of their wood pile. A wise family would always be “future minded.” Axes and cross cut saws would be sharpened and ready well before the first hint of frost. Then daily, throughout the fall months, the woodpile would increase.

There is no need to wonder why the woodpile was such an important part of many conversations. “Got your wood laid by?” was an important question. In this New Year, I think it is still necessary to be well prepared for the future. We need to be as ready as we can be for whatever these winter months have in store for us. This is especially true in a spiritual sense. Because we don’t know what life may bring, we ought to have plenty of spiritual wood laid by.

No year is completely “smooth skies and calm sailing.” Our common sense and life experiences have taught us that storms and heartaches will threaten. In tough times, we will need plenty of spiritual fuel and fire. There are many people who have already run out of spiritual steam and are now shivering in the cold. I have prayed that all of us will have enough spiritual resources, in reserve, to warm the hearts of others.

Do what you can to keep the cold at bay. The Word of God and prayer offer a good deal of warmth. Think good thoughts and sow only good seed. Cultivate friendships with optimistic, joyful people. Be filled with the Spirit. Sing, or recite, the great hymns of the one true Christian faith. With God’s help you can be prepared for any dark winter day in life.

No woodpile, spiritual or physical, grows by magic. Growth is always accompanied by hard work. As you labor to increase you fuel supply, my prayer is that God will “supply all of your needs in accordance with his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.