The Strange Case of Josh Poker-Stick

by Andy Wood on October 13, 2008

in Five LV Laws, Following Your Passion, Leadership, Life Currency, LV Cycle, LV Stories, Principle of Legacy, Words

(A spiritual leadership fable.)

Hi, I’m Josh.  Pleased to meet you.

Hi, Josh.  I’m Andy.  So tell me about yourself.

I’m a poker.

A what?

A poker.

You mean, like a poker player?

No.  I mean, like a poker in your fireplace.

You’re a poker?

Yep.  Poker.

Okay, I’m steppin’ out a little here, Josh.  What does a poker do?


(Should’ve seen that coming.)  Okaaay.  Pokes what?

I poke people.



You just walk up to them and poke them with your finger?

Naw, not like that.  That’s creepy.

Ya think?

I do for people what a poker does for your fireplace. I fan flames in people.  I ignite new sparks of life, passion, creativity, and action.

Sounds exciting.

Sometimes.  At other times, it’s painful.

How can something so life-changing be painful?

People don’t want to be poked.

Why not?

Oh, different reasons.  Some of them think they have enough fire burning in their lives right now.  Others are happy when their embers.

Their embers?

Yeah, you know.  Like the embers that glow on the log in the fireplace as the flame dies down.  I like to call it “yesterday’s fire.”  People just love yesterday’s fire.

And your job is to…

Poke.  I poke all the old embers away and expose new surfaces, new opportunities, new fuel for the fire.

And people don’t like this because…

Because they resent change.  Because they want to watch the fire, but not engage with it.
Because they want to be around the fire, but not consumed by it.  Because they want to talk, and not do.

Not a big fan of talking, are ya?

Talk all you want.  Just as long as you’re actually doing something about it.

So you just go around, poking anybody?

Oh, no.  I’m just a tool.  I’m only as good as my usefulness to the Master of the Fire.

I assume that means God?

Yep.  It’s His fire.

So this fire… what exactly is that?

It can represent several things.  It certainly means a tremendous source of power and energy.  It means warmth and protection from the elements.  It means passion.  And it means purity.

So let me get this straight.  Your job is to poke people in order to release power, energy, passion, and purity?  But it isn’t your initiative, it’s God’s.  It isn’t your fire – that’s God’s, too.  You’re just a tool in God’s hands.

That about sums it up.  But I’m done.


Yep.  Done.  I’m useless.  Exhausted.  Burned out.

C’mon, man.  You just said you were a poker.  Pokers don’t burn out.

My kind does.  I’m made of the same stuff that burns in your fireplace.  Bible word for it is “fire brand.”

So you’re a – a stick?


A burned-out, poking stick?

Is this like, funny to you?

Sorry.  But it seems to me that if you’re a tool in God’s chest, then being a person He uses to stimulate His fire in others would be very rewarding and energizing.

It is sometimes.  In fact, it is often.  But sometimes the accusations are more than I can handle?

What accusations?

The ones that tell me I’m a fraud.  I’m just a worthless stick.  I’m not wanted.  I’m not poking well enough.  I’m not as young and energetic as I once was.  My fire isn’t as powerful as the one next to it.

So who’s doing this accusing?

They’re just thoughts in my head.  But they’re also obviously true.

Nobody’s actually saying those things?


Nobody is bringing any kind of legitimate charge against you?


And what is God saying?

He’s always pretty encouraging.  Talks about purpose and power.  He picks me up and rams me in the fire.  When He does, some sparks fly, people are reignited.  Then He pulls me out pretty quickly.

What do people say?

One or two will usually thank me for rekindling them.  Others whine or complain.  Lots more don’t say anything.

So, Josh, where do you think those accusing thoughts are coming from?

Like I said, it’s obvious.  No use arguing with reality.

But there is use, Mister Poker-Stick, of arguing with a lie.  You’ve been listening to the father of lies, the devil.  And if you let him, he’ll have you on a shelf somewhere, completely useless.  I think it’s time for you to get a new perspective.

And where am I supposed to get that?

Maybe from the Master of the Fire?  Isn’t He the one who designed you for that in the first place?

Yeah, you’re right.

And don’t you think He’s a heck of a lot better at keeping score than you are?

I guess.

And don’t you think if He had a problem with your usefulness, you’d be the first to know?

I suppose.

And if He’s made you to be a poker, do you honestly think you’ll be satisfied ever doing anything else?

Probably not.  I guess I do need a new perspective.

Hey, Josh, I understand.  Even fire brands need to be poked every once in a while.  Just one other question, out of curiosity.

What’s that?

What keeps you from just quitting?  From absolutely walking away?

I’ve tried.  But the fire… something about it…

Gets in your bones?

Yeah.  It gets in my bones.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2).

(Share this with the “fire brands” who have influenced or encouraged you.  A little “thank you” goes a long way.)

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