Don’t Build a Fire in the Tent

Practical Christianity
Tim McCool
Pastor Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church

When I was in high school I spent a lot of time camping. On one occasion, a few of my friends were camping out with me. It was a cold time of year, so we planned on building a fire to keep warm. As we walked out the door, Mom called to us with her usual goodbyes and warnings to be safe. But this time she added, “Don’t build a fire in the tent!” We were almost out of ear shot but we paused and looked at each other. What she said was worth a trip back inside. I walked in and looked at her and asked, “Are you serious?”
She said of course she was serious! I told her (kindly) that I had enough sense to know not to build a fire in the tent. Even if I didn’t have any sense I would know not to do that. We all laughed that night and many days to come about what she said. It became a slogan when we were going to do anything – “Hey, don’t build a fire in the tent!” It was always used in the context of using common sense – things so obvious it didn’t have to be said. Thank you Mom for a great common sense slogan!

Everybody knows you don’t build a fire in the tent. But today it seems we need that kind of basic wisdom to bring us to our senses. “Hey don’t let a man go into the ladies’ restroom!” That seems like the most common sense thing you could say. Or, “Marriage is between a man and a woman.” That made perfect sense for thousands of years. Or what about, “Men should fight our wars and not women.” If I was 95 years old, I would stagger or be wheeled onto any battlefield before I let my mother, wife or daughters fight physical wars for me. Would you?

In reality, all of the common sense statements above go far beyond common sense. The type of non-sensical thinking around today is called “cutting edge”, “new age” or “progress of man.” But it is not progress at all, but outright rebellion against God. His word makes a clear distinction between male and female (Gen.1:27; Mt.19:14), and male and female are different, according to His design. It is plain old common sense to use different restrooms.

God’s word states plainly that marriage is only marriage when it is between a male and female (Mk.10:6). And to deny the glorious differences between male and female in terms of strength and gifts is to deny nature itself! Think about it–every female is not a Rhonda Rousey and every male is not an Arnold Schwarzenegger (or at least what he used to be!). Being described as the weaker vessel does not mean that females are inferior (I Pet.3:7). Personally I consider my own wife greatly superior to me!

So it is more than common sense, it is spiritual sense. Where has our common spiritual sense gone as a society? People are building fires in their tents left and right! And guess what happens when you do that? Your tent burns up! May we return to common sense, which means to return to spiritual sense that is clearly laid out in God’s Word.

Elder Tim McCool is pastor of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church located on the Boyd Road near Echola. For inquiries email Pastor McCool at Please join us each Sunday morning on the March to Zion Broadcast at 8 am on 100.1 FM in the Tuscaloosa area or 9am on 106.5 in the Fayette / Lamar county area.