February 27, 2009
Your Sphere of Influence
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
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.
How big or small is your sphere of influence?
We discussed this topic in my Bible study group earlier this week. Some members felt that they had a very limited sphere, while others thought that everyone they came in contact with could be affected by what they said or did.
I track with the latter opinion and think that our spheres of influence are far greater than we will ever know. Family, friends, neighbors, strangers, cashiers at the grocery store, drivers in the lanes on either side of us, children who listen to and mimic our speech and on and on it goes. I believe that we can influence everyone (whether significantly or not) we encounter.
What I say and what I do has an effect. My example speaks volumes to others. And I don’t say that in a pompous, “Look at me! I’m so important” type of way. I say that because I know that we are all easily influenced by others.
Recently, I was greatly influenced by someone else’s example. A dear childhood friend of mine (I’ll call him Roger) shared about our mutual friend (I’ll call him Joe), and how Joe had reached out to him and helped him through a tough season in his life.
It was during high school that Roger had strayed from the Lord and was making some not-so-great life choices. He wasn’t at home with his family, he had dropped out of high school, he wasn’t coming to church and his “rustic” living conditions were just not good.
Well, Joe would not have it. And he reached out and did something to change Roger’s life. He drove out to find where Roger was living and rescued him from a downward life spiral. With his parents’ permission, Joe invited Roger to live with his family. He studied with him and helped Roger to get his GED. And he got him back involved in church, too. Joe loved his brother in Christ and did what he could to help his friend.
This happened some 25 or so years ago now. I was there during this time in Roger’s life. But I had no idea what was really going on. Now, knowing what Joe did for Roger and how he directly impacted him (“Joe saved my life,” Roger said) has greatly influenced me. In fact, I can’t stop thinking about it. Not only has it given me a new appreciation for Joe and the lengths he would go to to rescue a friend, but it has challenged me in my own friendships and what I am doing in others’ lives.
By my example, by my words, by my willingness to make myself available … I have the opportunity to influence others. But am I taking full advantage of these opportunities and pointing people toward Christ?
As believers, we are not called to just coast along and bide our time here on earth until we get to heaven. To squander what God has given us or to hide it away. No. We are called to be good stewards. To use our gifts. To serve him with joy and thanksgiving. To shine his light and be an influence in others’ lives.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Like the servants in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), we have each been equipped to serve the Lord faithfully and be witnesses for him while we live here on earth. So what are you doing today for the Kingdom? How can you influence others and impact their lives for eternity?