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Immerse: Messiah, Week 4, Day 19

Joy, Influence and Chocolate

Home. Made. Fudge.

No statement may make your mouth water like your grandmother’s closely-guarded fudge recipe (one which – even when you make it exactly to measurements still doesn’t taste quite right).

Whetstone Chocolates, based in St. Augustine, began their business by making one recipe – homemade fudge. Their focus since 1967 has been to make the best chocolate around, and it all started with fudge. Recently I went on a tour of their chocolate factory. The tour guide showed us all the machines and trinkets the chocolatiers use to hand craft their chocolate. When we got to the end of the tour, she showed us where it all began: on a table made strictly from cast iron. For nearly 100 years, chocolate has been worked on this table by many different chocolatiers. Just think of how many people experienced little moments of joy because this table exists and fulfills its purpose.

In the same way, we have the opportunity to be influencers of those around us. In 1 Thessalonians 5 (page 117), Paul writes a section to the church containing instructions on how to use our influence. He tells us to do the following things: Honor your leaders. Work hard. Show respect and wholehearted love. Live peacefully with each other. Don’t be lazy. Encourage the timid to be bold. Take care of the weak. Be patient with everyone. Always do good to each other. Don’t get back at one another. Be joyful. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Don’t be a scoffer. Hold on to what is good and stay away from evil.

I have a short attention span (probably because I eat too much chocolate), so I need to tell you that focusing on following even one of these instructions can be challenging for me. However, discipline is what Paul is asking for here. Incorporating love, respect, honor, and life-changing prayer takes discipline and consistency. When these are executed consistently, we create opportunities to teach those around us to do the same. We inspire and influence them in ways that honor and glorify Jesus – not us, not our position, not our power or understanding – Jesus.

Just like the cast iron table was a tool to bring on the joy of some life-changing chocolate, we have been given these tools in a simple paragraph that, if followed, will encourage unity and inspire joy in those around us. The recipe is not as closely guarded as your grandmother’s fudge, but is meant to be shared. The chocolatiers who worked the cast iron table had the opportunity to bring unfiltered joy into the lives of their patrons, just by making chocolate. Imagine the kind of life-changing opportunities we have to influence each other and to bring the kind of joy that surpasses anything we can make – the kind of joy which can only be experienced because of the Maker. You have the choice. Bring the joy.

- Karissa Mead