BY LEANN DILBECK –
Webster defines influence as “the power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen.”
Whether positively or negatively, we’ve all had those influential people in our lives. It may have been that 3rd grade teacher that inspired you to want to teach others or that popular kid in school that told you just to relax and have a beer…we’ve all felt the power of influence.
As adults, when our society refers to influential people, it is typically also referencing their power or their wealth. Is that really the only way to gain the ability to influence on a large scale… through titles, large bank accounts, etc.?
There are those rare exceptions and look at the incredible footprint they leave on society… those that are born on the wrong side of the tracks, who still speak and pursue dreams with a passion. Consider James Meredith who, with one simple act of enrolling in Ole Miss as a student, served as a pivotal moment in this nation’s civil rights history and served to boldly inspire others to pursue their educational dreams. Meredith had no clue the significant role his courageous act would play on a large scale and yet he boldly followed his heart and his desire for an education.
The “movers and shakers” of the world have the ability, whether desired or not, to influence. Some may consider it a blessing and the incredible responsibility of it may be considered a curse to others. The motivation of it is the key. Is the motivation to please others? Please yourself? Personal gain? Feed your ego? To feel important? To feel needed? To feel powerful? To change the world… or to invest in the kingdom?
Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” A scripture that is usually referred to in times of uncertainty but it should not only give comfort but also inspire us on a daily basis to know that if He is at the center of all of our decisions and actions… we will be blessed.
No decision made for the Lord is insignificant. Was it insignificant when a widow named Ruth chose the God of Israel and became the great-grandmother to King David? Was it trivial when a desperate and broken barren woman named Hannah poured out the desires of her heart to her God and later became the mother of Samuel the prophet? Did Mary ever consider her personal gain and the monumental place she would earn in history when she poured out expensive perfume onto her Savior?
These biblical people never dreamed that thousands of years later, generations of people around the world would be reading about their choices. Their motivation was not about being “movers or shakers” of their time. Their motivation was pure. Their motivation was simple. Their motivation was out of love for our merciful God; and yet, look at the incredible and eternal influence their genuine choices have had on millions of people.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need for great influential leaders. What we need are great influential godly leaders… from the top echelons of government and businesses all the way down to the lower levels. We need godly influence of our children that begins at home and is reinforced at school. No choice to keep God at the center is insignificant and we may not realize, at the time, the eternal impacts of that one choice.
I’ve been asked often lately why, week after week, I continue to devote page 2 and my editorials to always being faith-based. The reason is pure and simple. Our family feels incredibly blessed to have a business with a platform that allows us to share information with thousands and it is our desire to do it in a manner that honors the God that blessed us with it. If in our small business venture, we have earned the ability to influence, we pray that it is honorable and pleasing to Him… not only in what we print but how we conduct our business. Our mission statement wasn’t crafted and isn’t quite the traditional corporate style, but it keeps our eyes focused on Him in all our choices: Colossians 3:17 – “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
All for His glory –