Some People are Like Fireworks (Part 1)
The 4th of July has come and gone, and America turned 235 years old! If you are an American, I hope you spent some time thinking about our great country. I'm all for getting together with family or friends and enjoying time-off and cookouts, but that should not be divorced from the purpose behind it all--our nation's independence which was declared back in 1776.

One way I've explained it to my young boys is that America doesn't get a cake on its birthday, but many communities (and individuals) choose to celebrate the special day with fireworks. You can always tell when the 4th of July is getting close by the number of tents that spring up selling fireworks. We usually spend around $20 or so, which will provide a decent ground show of various lights, sounds, and smoke. To get fireworks that actually shoot into the air, you've got to spend a lot more money!

This year we rode our bikes near to the location where the city was putting on their firework display. It was enjoyable to watch the action in the sky and the reaction on the ground of my boys. Afterward, I took some time to reflect and I have seven points that I'd like to share regarding how some people are like fireworks. Jesus used everyday objects and things His listeners were familiar with to communicate great truths. Hopefully, we can communicate some wonderful truths from God's word by making these comparisons between people and fireworks.

Some fireworks have short fuses and require quick handling. Once lit, they must be backed away from quickly to avoid injury. Some people are like this. Proverbs 14:17 reads - "A quick-tempered man acts foolishly." Sadly, we all know folks like this (sometimes we fit the description): people who get angry quickly and then say and do foolish things that are later regretted. Proverbs 16:32 states - "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." Let those words of wisdom sink in. "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." If given the choice, I'd rather have fireworks with a longer fuse. They're easier to work with and not so dangerous. It's the same way with the company I keep. I'd rather spend my time with those who are known for patience and self-control--not quick, explosive anger.

Many fireworks produce a whistling sound while they are working. I can't recall the exact name of one firework we've set off in the past, but it was something like "Screaming Tiger." We figured it would make noise, but we weren't ready for the exceedingly shrill and eardrum-piercing noise it would emit--and for a long time, too! But, I digress. It is good to whistle while you work, so to speak. Be cheerful! It's fun to work with a joyful person, but not so much with a grouch. "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (Prov. 17:22). Psalm 100:2 reads - "Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing." I Thessalonians 5:16 simply commands - "Rejoice always."

Even with amazing technology, sometimes fireworks malfunction. We had some spinner fireworks one year that didn't work properly. They just stayed put and never spun like they were designed to. Occasionally, sparklers will go out before they burn all the way to the end. Sadly, this sometimes happens to Christians, too; they fizzle out before their God-given work is complete! God wants us to endure to the end (cf. Matt. 10:22). Paul encouraged in Galatians 6:9 - "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." He also wrote in I Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." Being faithful until you are 50, 70, or even 90 isn't good enough (cf. Rev. 2:10).

We will share the other four points in our next lesson.