Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

02/06/2019

Randall Caselman

 

Stewardship of Our Influence

 

You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine

before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.

 

  Influence! What an awesome responsibility, the proper stewardship of our influence. Most of us are guilty of thinking, we have little or no influence. This is not true. We all influence others around us. We have no choice in the matter, we will affect the lives of others. Our choice is how – for the good or bad. What we can't do is remain neutral, this is not an option for any one of us. It was Paul who said: "None of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone" (Romans 14.7).  Everyone exerts an influence over others, everyone!

 

Eve influenced the one she loved the most to sin.

Israel influenced Aaron to build the golden calf.

The ten spies used their influence to destroy the faith of Israel.

Absalom used this power to incite a revolt against his own father, David.

The Samaritan woman influenced an entire city, "Come see the Messiah."

 

  Fathers influence children. Mothers influence their daughters. Elders the church. Preachers their audiences. Teachers their students. Partners their companions. Friend to friend. We all do it. We can't stop our influence! All we can do is control it, shape it, and if needed change it. What we cannot do is turn it off. Bottom line is our influence is active, powerful, and working every minute whether we are conscious of this fact or not.

 

  So, let us note some ways we can be effective stewards of this thing called influence...

 

  1) Watch our character. We are to be different people. We are to have the mind and manners of Jesus. His thoughts and behavior are to become our way of thinking and behaving. I think of two Scriptures, the first is 2 Peter 1.3-5. Here, Peter tells us that "through His Divine Power, God has given us everything we need to become godly people, like Jesus people, so that we may participate in Jesus' Divine Nature and thus escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." Here is what we've gotta do: "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." Then there's Galatians 5.22-25: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Character influences! A Jesus character influences for good, every time, every time!

 

  2) Be a person of pure motive. I have to tell you that, regardless of what we say and how we say it, if people catch even a glimpse of insincerity in our speech or behavior, our influence takes a nosedive into the negative. Proper communication has to do with several things: Our speech, body language, disposition, attitude, behavior. If any one of these appear insincere it's easy to be misunderstood.

 

  Church, I say it often, let me say it again: "Motive is Everything!" Listen to Jesus: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me'" (Matthew 15.8). "From within, out of men's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All evil comes from inside" (Mark 7.20-23). "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart." (Luke 6.45). "Blessed are the pure in Heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5.8

 

  Here it is church, we are what we think, not just what we say or do. Solomon wrote: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23.7). The bad news: Those around us are keen on sensing what's in our heart. People see through our improper motives. A Christ-like influence demands we correct our motives. In effect, Jesus said: "Don't pray, give your alms, or fast to be seen of others." Correct motives, enhances our influence, and makes us right with God. Amen?

 

  3) Love others, all others! Jesus was a people person. He taught that people were more important than law; "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2.27). "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5.45). "God so loved the world, that he sent His One and Only Son."

 

  Listen, I'm not saying we can be saved without obedience to God. I'm just trying to make the point that we must hold people above all else, because God does. We must stop choosing to love some and hate others. Hate was not in the heart of Jesus. Neither should it be in ours: "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’" (Matthew 5.43). “But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6.27).

 

  Our influence, even our relationship with God, is dependent upon our relationship with our fellowman. "Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love... Since God so loved us, we ought to love one another... For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen... Whoever loves God must also love his brother" (Selected verses from 1 John 4.7-21).

 

  4) Influence demands consistency. Anybody can do anything right once, but those of us who have named Jesus as our Lord and Savior must strive for a Jesus character, be proper motivated, have a love for others, and be consistently consistent. Inconsistency destroys influence. Strive for consistency! Amen?

 

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,

All His wonderful passion and purity;

May His Spirit Divine all my being refine,

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

 

From the dawn of the morning to close of day,

In example, in deeds and in all you say;

Lay your gifts at His feet, ever strive to keep sweet,

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.

 

—Randall Caselman