I’ve always felt that ashes were so worthless. If
you’ve ever looked into a fireplace after the fire has
gone out and the last embers are cold, what you
see is so empty and useless.

A few years ago when a disastrous fire struck
the company where the videotape masters of all
the past Jack Van Impe television programs were
stored, I felt so helpless. It was devastating to
think that so many months and years of hard
work had gone up in smoke — at least 2.8 million
dollars’ worth of production value was lost forever.

All that was left was… ashes!

But no — suddenly the Lord let me see that the
value of those TV programs was not encased in a
few reels of videotape. Their real worth is
measured in the number of souls won to Christ — the
decisions and rededications… those comforted and edified.

The work God wanted those tapes to
accomplish was done, and no fire could destroy their
eternal value. Satan might reduce their physical
form to ashes, but he can never erase the impact of
their gospel message on the hearts and minds of
millions of people around the world.

Mark Video Enterprises was one of the most
modern facilities in the world. Its vaults were
supposed to be among the safest, most fireproof
storage centers available. But they failed.

And the only thing that will last out of the ash
pile that was left is what was done for the Lord.

Tried by fire

I am reminded of what the Bible teaches about
that day when we all stand before the Lord. The
Apostle Paul wrote, and the fire shall try every
man’s work of what sort it is
(1 Corinthians 3:13).

If our lives have been invested for God, our
works will withstand the fire as if made of gold,
silver, or precious stones. But if our treasures have
been material things, they will burn up like wood,
hay, or stubble, leaving only ashes!

Oh, I want my works to have eternal value on
that day when I stand before the Master, don’t you?

That’s why we must put God’s work first in our
lives and devote our time and energy to winning
souls to Christ. That’s why Dr. Van Impe and I
implore you to help us carry out the Great
Commission and produce fruit that remains.

Perhaps you feel that the fires of adversity have
already swept across your life and everything
you’ve worked for has gone up in smoke. It may be
that all you can see are the ashes of what might
have been.

Well, I have good news for you.

Jesus came to restore you, to bind up your
broken heart, to free you from bondage, to give
you beauty for ashes! (see Isaiah 61:1-3).

Let His love heal you. Let His Spirit strengthen
and empower you.

Let His forgiveness make you over and give you
a new life. Rise up from the ashes of every failure
and disappointment that has marred your life and
begin anew.

Stand firm upon the foundation of the Lord
Jesus Christ and begin building a work that will endure.