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Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 12:38

We are a people who have been called by God and are on a mission. We are called by God to touch and change the world with the love of Jesus. We are called to have an impact in the world around us. As we have defined impact for you, it is to hit with force and have an effect on. We are to be a people that are not only a force but effect in a positive way the world around us.

There is a story, originally told by Max Lucado, that reminds us of what we are called to do. It begins like many other stories. . .

Long ago, or maybe not so long ago, there was a tribe in a dark, cold, cavern. The cave dwellers would huddle together and cry against the chill. Long and loud they wailed. It was all they did, it was their existence. It was all they knew to do. The sounds in the cave were mournful, but they people didnít know it. As people they had never known joy. The spirit in the cave was death, but again, the people didnít know it, for they had never known life.

But then, one day, they heard a different voice. "I have heard your cries," it announced. "I have felt your chill and seen your darkness, and I have come to help you."

The cave people grew quiet. They had never heard this voice. Hope sounded strange in their ears. "How can we know you have really come to help?" they inquired.

"Trust me," he answered, "I have what you need."

The cave people peered through the darkness at the figure of the stranger. He was stacking something, then stooping, then stacking some more.

"What are you doing?" one cried, nervous. The stranger did not answer.

"What are you making?" one shouted even louder. Still no response.

"Tell us!" demanded yet a third.

The visitor stood and spoke in the direction of the voices, "I have what you need." And with that he turned to the pile at his feet and lit it. Wood ignited, flames erupted, and light filled the cavern. The cave people turned away in fear. "Put it out!" they cried. "It hurts to see it."

"Light always hurts before it helps," he answered. "Step closer, the pain will soon pass."

"NO," declared one...then another and another.

"Only a fool would risk exposing his eyes to such a light," said one more cave dweller.

The stranger stood next to the fire. "Would you prefer the darkness? Would you prefer the cold? Donít consult your fears, take a step of faith and come to the light."

For a long, long time no one spoke. The people hovered in groups covering their eyes. The fire builder stood next to the fire. "Itís warm here," he invited.

"Heís right," one from behind him announced, "It is warmer." The stranger turned and saw a figure slowly stepping toward the fire. "I can open my eyes now," she proclaimed. "I can see!"

"Come closer," invited the fire builder.

She did. She stepped into the ring of light. "It is so warm!" She extended her hands and sighed as she felt the chill in her body begin to pass.

"Come everyone and feel the warmth!" she invited.

"Silence woman!" cried one of the cave dwellers. "Dare you lead us into your folly and foolishness? Leave us. Leave us and take your light with you!"

She turned to the stranger. ĎWhy wonít they come?"

"They have chosen the chill, for even though it is cold, it is what they know. They would rather be cold than change."

"And live in the dark?"

"And live in the dark."

The now-warm woman stood silent. Looking first at the dark and then at the man.

"Will you leave the fire?" he asked. She paused then answered, "I cannot. I cannot bear the cold." Then she spoke again. "But I cannot bear the thought of my people in darkness."

"You donít have to," he responded, reaching into the fire and removing stick. The flame danced on the piece of wood. "Carry this to your people. Tell them the light is here, and the light is warm. Tell them the light is for all who desire it."

And so she reached out, accepted the flame and stepped out into the shadows.

The parable reminds us that we are called to be a person of impact, to carry His light into a world of cold darkness. It is part of being a world changer. It is our destiny. . .to impact the world and make it a better place.

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