Can ONE PERSON really make a difference? Can one person REALLY make a difference? Can one person really MAKE a difference? Can on person really make a DIFFERENCE?
Which sentence grabbed your attention? It is the same sentence. Same words. The only difference is the emphasis placed on each word. But, you know what, even though the sentence asks the same thing, each sentence also asks something different, doesn’t it? It is all on the way you read (or hear) a statement. Amazing. It really makes you think, doesn’t it? And I most certainly believe that one person CAN make a difference! And the kicker is, the difference can be positive and good or negative and bad. Yep, as it might be said by Debbie Downer, “The good news is we made a big impact on that person over there, the bad news is it was all negative and we have ruined their life.”
Read the following story. It is a good one and it will really make you think, especially of you keep the question, “Can one person really make a difference.” Enjoy the story!
A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.
It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his preacher’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.
The preacher made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth, all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.
Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The Preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."
We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.
Cool story, huh? Thanks Gracie for e-mailing it to me! So, what is the moral of the story? How many lessons can you pull out of this one. If you are like me, there a dozen excellent points that could be made here at this point of the article. But of all of the lessons we COULD pull from this story, this is the one I will leave you with. NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. We can’t make it on our own. The path we have to take to get to heaven is tough, and getting there requires help. The coal burned brightest when it was with other like him, doing the same thing, in unison, and relying on each other to keep going.
Going solo killed the fire within the coal, and it will kill you too. THAT is why we have the church. God knew we needed help, that we needed to be around people of like mind and faith. God knew we would do our best as a team and not as a 1 man show. And when we work together, and rely on each other, and contribute to the cause, look out! The fire will burn brightly and we will become that light we are asked to be in Matthew. We will be the heat, the source of energy, that others seek. And as the coal, we will do what we were originally designed to do. Be a team player, use our talents and abilities, and work for a common cause.
And you thought fires were only good to roast marsh mellows and make Smores! Well, think again. The next time you stand around a bonfire, or a fireplace, and watch the fire and the ambers glow in the darkness, I just bet you will think of this story. And you too will start thinking of all of the points that COULD come out of this lesson!!!!
“Light the fire, in my soul. Fan the flames, make me whole. Lord you know, where I’ve been, so light the fire in my heart again.”