A Flash in the Pan

Over the years in the church we get to see various types of individuals who start attending Church services with us. One in particular is what I call a “Flash in the Pan.” People who have cooked have at times experienced this and that is when oil in a pan, unattended for whatever reason, reaches its flash or ignition temperature and catches fire. These are usually small fires, easy to extinguish.

There are some individuals who are this way. When we first meet them, they are bubbling over with enthusiasm and are all fired up about the new truth they are learning. Later their enthusiasm wanes, usually when facing a trial in regard to obeying God or perhaps some persecution from family members, so they begin to waffle a bit.

Christ warned us about some of the problems we would encounter. They are outlined in Matthew 13:3-8:

“Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

The flash in the pan is described in verses 20 -21:

“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

Notice, they endure for a little while, and like a jet when it flames out, crashes and burns, they are suddenly gone. We have to have a certain degree of toughness and ability to endure in order to stay true to the course. When we have to make those tough decisions in regard to obeying God, we must do the right thing, and God will support us.

I remember so well how happy I was when I came to the knowledge of the Sabbath. What did not dawn on me at first was that I could not work or earn a living on that day.

What was I to do? I had a government job that required me to work on the Sabbath on a rotating basis, and there was no practical way around it. I had two children and one on the way, and a mortgage to pay. I was working in a prison hospital at the time on the second floor, by myself, pacing back and forth, realizing I could not work on the Sabbath coming up in a few days.

I decided then and there that I was not going to work that Saturday, regardless of the consequences. In less than ten seconds my boss came up the stairs and told me that a fellow worker who was scheduled to work that afternoon phoned in sick and that I could work a double shift that day to cover for him. I immediately said I would if I could have Saturday off, which he agreed to give me.

I later had to resign my job and I worked for several months at several jobs before I eventually got a good job–a month after I was baptized. I worked at that company for more than 38 years, until my retirement in 2007.

I reflect on this incident at times and it reminds me of what Christ said about never forsaking us. If we step up to the plate with faith, not wavering, we can hit a home run. When we are called, we are called for the duration and Christ never said it would be a slide downhill into the Kingdom. If we endure to the end, we will be saved and receive the reward.

The one thing we don’t want to be is a “Flash in the Pan.”

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