Good Saturday morning to all. I pray your weekend is going to be relaxing and restful. See message below:
October 8, 2021
I think we take for granted or fail to realize the influence we have on others. Think about how our children, grandchildren, family members, friends, colleagues and others see us. They often watch and listen to us and formulate an opinion about us and how they may or may not wish for us to be instrumental in their lives. The word influence has power, but what is of utmost importance is that we use that power for good and not evil. When we influence others, hopefully we are causing them to be better people. Let’s make sure we are influencing them rather than trying to control them. May we live in such a way that others will see the very best of us individually.
Recently, we have observed how individuals have influenced people in such negative ways that it appears they can’t think for themselves. Presently we are seeing people die because they are being influenced by such negative forces. The pandemic is still here and it appears it will be here for a long time. Being a negative influence can become a weapon of mass destruction. Just imagine, more than 700,000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19, yet there are still those who refuse to receive the vaccine. Just the other night I watched as a news reporter interviewed persons and asked the question, “Why are you not taking the vaccine?” Some of the responses were frightening, downright disgusting and ignorant. Well, that’s my opinion.
What we must also realize is that we are not attempting to force persons to live their lives as we do. We are not suggesting they think and make decisions based on our thoughts, but please use some common sense. It is our hope that they will take the most rewarding pieces of who we are and use them for their good.
Reflect on your life and call out names of persons who have been influential in your life. Now that you have done that, weigh your success and determine how much you owe those persons for their influence. Sometimes we are influencing others without opening our mouths. Some people have a tendency to just watch us and get a feel as to whether we are genuine, authentic or fake.
On the other hand, a person who is in a leadership position can do great harm by influencing people with their negative and evil words. Influence sometimes simply causes or allows what has been bottled up in a person for years to be released. Much of the evil we are seeing today has always been prevalent, but now we have someone who openly thrives on hatred and racism. A leader’s influence is presently causing America to jeopardize its democracy, but may we put forth a concerted effort to change the hatred and craziness we are witnessing in America today. Satan is rejoicing, for it is his job to kill, steal and destroy.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus gives an example of how to live as a good influence in scripture, Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine so others can see it. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will bring glory to your Father who is in heaven.” I think most of us would agree that many of the world values are upside down and we need to be that beacon of light for each other.
One of the greatest examples of an influential person is Jesus who touched the lives of so many in the Bible, and is still considered the greatest influencer in our lives today. One of the stories in the Bible that captures our attention is the story about Mary Magdalene, a demon possessed woman. It was the influence of Jesus that changed her life forever. She was so grateful that she became one of his followers and supported him.
There is a short story entitled, “Be a Flame,” that I share with you. Once upon a time there was a piece of iron which was very strong. One after another, the ax, the saw, the hammer, and the flame tried to break it. “I’ll master it,” said the ax. Its blows fell heavily on the iron, but to no avail. “Leave it to me,” said the saw; and it worked backwards and forward on the iron’s surface, but to no avail. “Ah!” said the hammer. “I knew you wouldn’t succeed. I’ll show you the way, but to no avail. “Shall I try?” asked the small soft flame. “Forget it,” all replied. “What can you do?” But the flame curled around the iron, embraced it, and never left the iron until it melted under the flame’s irresistible influence. (Aesop)
Romans 1:12, “I’m eager to encourage you in your faith. But I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.”
In closing, be a blessing and strength to others by the way we live.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor