Heaping Coals Of Fire On Folks Heads With Your Founder's Story

In the story No Country For Old Men, Sheriff Bell tells about a dream he had of his father. Riding past him in the cold, snowy winter, "I seen he was carryin fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it...I knew...that he was fixin to make a fire somewhere..."

His father was practicing an old tradition passed by the Native Indians to the cowboys where they would "carry the embers from the fire of one camp to the next in an animal horn" (Buster).

In ancient times, matches or modern fire starters did not exist. A brazier of burning coals from somewhere else was often used to light the household fire.

If the fire went out, a house member would take the empty brazier, usually on their head, to a neighbor's house to borrow some coals of fire.

The borrower would get a heaping pile of burning coals if the neighbor was generous. The ancient Proverbs of Solomon encourage this kind of generosity:

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. Proverbs of Solomon 25:21

Sheriff Bell's dream was about more than starting a fire in a cold, dark place; it was about his father passing hope and encouragement to him.

Stories are the fires that light passion in other people's lives. Bobette Buster says that "stories possess a spark, a power: to comfort, connect, destroy, transform–and even to heal."

Our story is a fire we share with others.

I recently committed to writing thirty stories in thirty days to practice my storytelling and writing skills. Many of the young folks I interviewed wept as they recounted their struggles. As I probed them for their "bloody hand" or inciting incidents, I was most surprised at how many had never told their story before.

Something amazing happened. After I helped them craft and tell the story they had been too ashamed to tell, THEY STARTED TELLING IT EVERYWHERE! They went from ashamed to speak it to courageously telling it everywhere overnight!

Just telling their story changed them.

Telling our story inspires, empowers, and causes others to engage with us. It also changes us. The very act of telling our story affects us.

In telling our story, others get inspired and moved to action.

In telling our story, we also get inspired and moved to action.

In telling our story, others gain courage.

In telling our story, we also gain courage.

In telling our story, we heap coals of fire on the head of those whose fire has gone out.

Our story, with its bloody hand, helps kindle a fire in our own soul as well as others.

Our story is our "testimony." Our testimony is our story given in a legal disposition or court of law.

You are THE authority on your life and your testimony. Nobody else can share your testimony. If you don't share it, the ones who most need it will never hear that part of your life message on this earth.

The Hebrew word translated testimony in Jewish texts literally means do again. When we tell our story, transformative, “do again” power is released. Others hear our story and get the courage to do it or make it happen again!

If you don't tell your story, the dark and cold places that need the fire that your story ignites will remain lifeless.

And that's a tragedy. If you don't tell your story, nobody else can tell it for you.

Why are you who you are? Why do you do what you do? Where did it start? What values did it involve? What was the inciting incident?

Do the hard work of hammering out your story. Enlist the help of a good storyteller. Write it out. Practice it.

And tell it!

Selah, pause and think about the power of your story!


P.S. Want help in writing your story? Get help in my friend Kay Helm's Mission Writers class. Her classes remain filled, but you can get on her waiting list here: CLICK HERE

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