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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)

TITLE: The Spark Who Came In From the Cold
By David Butler


The young man looked glum as he walked through the door.
His host, an old elder, had helped him before,
So he cast himself down in a chair by the fire
Saying “How did I slip and fall into this mire?”

His counsellor waited, so patient and kind
For his friend to unburden and open his mind.
Though he had so much promise, a leader-to-be;
Deep roots are still needed to grow a strong tree.

The young man he mumbled, his head in his hands:
“I am weary and worn by life’s ceaseless demands.
I thought there was nothing that I could not do.
Where is the heavenly joy I once knew?

Strength I once found in the joy of the Lord,
And all of my strength in His service I poured.
I once had a passion, a fire within;
A love for my Saviour, and lost souls to win.

I once had a hunger for God’s Holy Word.
The Apocalypse now merely seems so absurd.
I faithfully read it each morning, each night.
It no longer has meaning nor sheds me new light.

When I prayed, then it seemed like the clouds tore apart
As His presence came down and then flooded my heart!
Now I pray on my knees, on my feet, on my head,
But it’s vain repetition. My heart feels like lead.

Once like a high flying eagle I soared.
So then why do I feel (I must say it) plain bored?
O counsellor, you’re like a father to me.
Please show me the path back to reality!”

The wise old man smiled and then silently rose
And reached with his tongs where the fire hottest glows.
A fiery white ember he pulled from the blaze
And held it before his young visitor’s gaze.

He placed the hot coal near the tools and the bellows
On the cold stony hearth well away from its fellows.
As the guest watched and wondered, he noticed, dismayed
That the glowing coal started to yellow and fade

From yellow to orange, to brown, to dull grey;
Now shrivelled and useless, to be just thrown away.
The young man cried “What does this mime signify?
Am I this black coal? Am I destined to die?”

Then, still without speaking, the old man took hold
Of that dark piece of carbon, forlorn and so cold.
With the tongs carefully dropped it in its former place
And then he sat back with a smile on his face.

As he watched, fascinated, the young man beheld
That the coal, once so lifeless, soon brightened and swelled;
Drawing heat from its fellows and life from the flames,
It glowed with new brilliance and joined in their games.

Not a word of good counsel was said nor advice,
But the guest got the message in less than a trice.
With a grateful, firm handshake and hope in his heart
He went off in the night, soon to make a new start.

Career and his studies had pulled him aside
From his fam’ly and friends. “But no longer!” he cried.
He sought out his friends who first showed him the Way
And is fervently serving the Lord to this day.

Based on a story told by Rev. Nicky Gumbel, Holy Trinity, Brompton, UK during an Alpha course.

Copyright © 2007

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This article has been read 982 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Paula Titus 10/19/07
Beautifully told with a powerful message. I found myself able to easily imagine in my mind the characters and setting. A true picture of why we need fellowship.
Joanne Sher 10/19/07
This is absolutely marvelous. What an amazing image. Your rhyme, meter, message are ALL wonderful. This piece truly blessed me.
Deborah Engle 10/20/07
Wonderful! Unspoken wisdom, and yet it speaks so loudly. The best way to teach. Great writing!
Betty Castleberry10/20/07
I don't really know what to write. This is wonderful. Wow.
Peter Stone10/21/07
This is fantastic. What an encouragement to those who have drifted away from Christian fellowship to return to its welcoming and motivating fold.
LauraLee Shaw10/21/07
Incredible rhyming. Marvelous piece of work.
Betsy Cobb Wise10/21/07
I love people like that who can very simply bring us back to purpose by God's design.

This is fellowship ever sweet and so precious to that person who has a need of being understood and cared for.

Well done!

Betsy Cobb Wise
Author, S.O.S.
Darlene Casino 10/22/07
This is a very meaningful piece that is well written. Thank you for blessing me today.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/22/07
What a wonderful illustration is found in this creative poem to show the value to our souls of Christian fellowship.
Jan Ackerson 10/23/07
Love the illustration of the coal drawing heat from its fellows...spot on!
Dee Yoder 10/24/07
Excellent illustrative story in poetry form! Love the characters and the setting.
Sara Harricharan 10/24/07
Ah, simply beautiful! I love the message in here, and especially the verse, where not a word of good counsel or advice was spoken, but the guest got the message. ^_^ Very well written!
Sara Harricharan 10/25/07
Sheri Gordon10/25/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is a wonderful message, and written beautifully. Great job with the topic.
Elizabeth Baize10/27/07
My favorite line:
"Drawing heat from its fellows and life from the flames,
It glowed with new brilliance and joined in their games."
This drew me in and kept my attention to the very end. I really like the way you retold this important lesson in poetry form. Great job!!

Mo 10/27/07
This is great! Congrats on your win!
Dianne Janak11/29/07
Congrats on the Editors' choice placing here. Once again you have amazed us with your style and creativity. The coal idea is brilliant and works so well with this. The description of the man in trouble with is faith was so relatable to many ( was to me anyway). Thanks David. Love your writing as usual.