The world has a new kind of sales force – influencers! People with a large number of followers on social media platforms use their popularity to influence others to purchase products that the influencer is paid to promote, often by demonstrating her own experience with the product. It’s big business worldwide. You don’t have to have a million followers on Instagram to be an influencer. You know that, don’t you? I was reminded of that fact in church yesterday.
Jackson, the 9 year old son of our pastor, has befriended me since my retiring and we sit together in church. Yesterday, during our congregational worship, I stood singing joyfully and worshipfully, eyes closed. Then I heard a little voice raised in praise next to me. I looked over and Jack was singing with enthusiasm, his stance very much a copy of my own. My actions influenced him.
It reminded me of another little boy who taught me about the power of example. Nathan is not so little anymore. He celebrated his 14th birthday yesterday. In 2009, when he was a toddler he and I sat together in the church café and he mimicked my actions. Back then, I prayed for the opportunity to be a good example to him and today that young man’s life brings me great joy!
Indulge me one more example. Watching the post-game commentators discuss the amazing abilities of Tom Brady, the NFL’s best quarterback, I heard them say – “He makes everyone around him better – players and coaches alike!” That was a wow moment for me. One man using his abilities and focusing on excellence causes an entire team to perform at a higher level. It challenged me. I aspire to lift the people around me to higher things, to make a ‘measurable difference for the Kingdom of God.’
You will influence others today!
What kind of influence will it be? Will you lift others, with encouraging words, with an example of excellence, with faith? Will even your casual encounters with others have a positive effect?
Paul taught us about influence. He wrote to the Corinthians that their lives were an unforgettable fragrance. The Spirit of God in them made them unique, a reminder of life to those who lived in faith and death to those who rejected the love of God.
Jesus uses a plain metaphor for our influence. He says “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:13-17, NIV) Salt was then a prime preservative, extremely valuable. It kept food supplies from rot! We, when we are filled with God’s Spirit, keep the rottenness of the world at bay. Light dispels darkness revealing the truth. Our lives are to be full of that light. And, when we are light-bearers, others will see God.
So, today, pray to be an influencers for Christ Jesus. You cannot do this from your own strength. You and I are not big enough, smart enough, or tough enough to lead others to Christ on our own, but when we invite the Spirit to live in us, when we present ourselves to Him, He will change us and shine through us. Let’s do it, for God’s sake.
Here is a word from the Word. I pray it is a challenge you will receive with full faith. “Command and teach these things. … Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:15-16, NIV)
Shine, Jesus, Shine
(This is the prayer of my heart)
Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness shining
Jesus Light of the world shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me shine on me
Shine Jesus shine
Fill this land
With the Father’s glory
Blaze Spirit blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow river flow
Flood the nations
With grace and mercy
Send forth Your word Lord
And let there be light
Lord I come to Your awesome presence
From the shadows into Your radiance
By the blood I may enter Your brightness
Search me try me consume all my darkness
Shine on me shine on me
As we gaze on Your kingly brightness
So our faces display Your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story
Shine on me shine on me
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