A certain church member who regularly attended worship suddenly ceased to come to church. After several weeks of his absence, the preacher decided to visit him.
Upon entering his home, the minister found the man sitting alone in front of his fireplace. Not sure of what the minister was about to say, the man invited him to sit next to him in front of the fire and the two sat there quietly.
During this long silence the man observed the fire dancing about the logs in the hearth. After several moments his guest took the tongs, grasped a large glowing ember and set it away from the fire. Then he took his seat again without speaking.
The man watched this without a word. Soon the hot ember cooled and no longer produced any flame or heat. The preacher looked at his watch and decided it was time to leave. Before going, however, he picked up the cold ember and put it back into the log pile where the fire was burning. It immediately lit up and began to glow red once again.
As the minister headed for the door, the man said to him, "Thank you for your visit and that fiery sermon. I'll see you at worship service next Sunday."