New Hope Notes
Make Us Influencers
Pastor Elwin Ahu
If there was one prayer that united the body of Christ, what would that be? To make us all influencers on other people would be one choice.
When I was watching the Olympics, it occurred to me that it seemed like many of the Chinese all looked alike! That is no joke. It got me to thinking, though, that shouldn’t all Christians be alike as well? Perhaps not physically but shouldn’t all Christians be alike at least spiritually? What is the world saying about how Christians are? Well, I know what the Lord says about how we should be. It is contained in the Beatitudes of the Book of Matthew. Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
We influence people all the time – even when we are unaware that we are doing it. People are watching us all the time, especially our own children. The Lord says that if we influence someone else that we should be like the salt on their food or that we should bring good taste, or in other words, enhance their lives. But as salt and light can be too much we should also not be overbearing.
When my wife Joy and I went out to fine dining, everything was perfect. The food was just delicious and perfectly seasoned. But I wonder what would have happened if there had been no light at the restaurant so that you could not see your dinner? Or what if there had been light but there was no seasoning or salt on your food so it tasted very bland? Both light and salt are very essential to our lives. The Lord says to be an enhancer. Wherever we find ourselves, we should be an enhancer to whomever else is there.
Four friends mentioned in the Bible were influencers. They had a paralytic friend that they wanted Jesus to heal but the crowds around Jesus were too much to get through. So they put their friend on a stretcher, carried him to the roof and lowered him to Jesus. As the Bible says, “Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’”(Mark 2:4-5). Jesus saw something different about these men. Imagine the faith demonstrated by these men through their efforts of carrying, climbing and digging for their friend. Jesus was probably very impressed by these men’s efforts and faith.
There are three significant qualities possessed by …
PEOPLE WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
Their faith is not about serving themselves but about serving others. Too many times, in this world, it is all about a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude. We live in a very self centered world. Lots of marriages break up because one or both partners feel that they are not getting what they personally want. Even Christians walk a dangerous line when they think like that. God does not want our salt to lose its taste. It should be noted that salt is very stable but can lose its effectiveness if it is diluted with water. But salt is most ineffective when it remains in its container.
Salt is only useful when used on other food or people. Even Christians sometimes keep their salt self contained because they feel that there is no personal gain for them in helping someone else. But Jesus said that we should not be like that. He said that we should get out of our container and become enhancers of other people’s lives.
We can memorize all the scripture we want but if we do nothing with it, we are useless. I remember a talk show in which there was a very awesomely muscled weightlifter. He demonstrated how fantastic he was at lifting weights but when asked what else could he do with those muscles, he had no answer because that is all he used his muscles for. Likewise, we can say we have walked with the Lord for 20 years, read the Bible from cover to cover 50 times and journaled furiously everyday but if we do not influence other people’s lives from those efforts then it is a waste. Jesus wants us to influence someone else’s life by our faith and what we know. Salt and light only enhances if we are involved with others. As it is written, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works … If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? … [Show] me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James -18).
The four friends of the paralytic had a faith that was not about them but about helping others. They were not only about talk but about action. The world is looking for the reality Christianity in action, not just another sermon. Someone once said, “To the world, the eye and not the ear has emerged as the decisive organ. The world is looking for reality and if a picture is worth ten thousand words, what is your life reflecting?”
We should live life as if …
We should ask ourselves if that picture book would show that our lives are mostly about us or about helping others.
People who make a difference also …
2. LIVE AUTHENTIC LIVES.
The lack of authenticity affects too many Christians. We may go to church on Sunday but not live according to Christ the rest of the week. In 1993, a survey showed that there was no significant difference between Christians and non Christians in regards to divorce, morality and attitudes about issues like speeding. In 2004, another survey showed that those original results had not changed. Who we are when others are watching us should be the same as when we are alone.
When I was a judge, I used to dress very sharply and in fashion. But when I got home from work and went jogging I would not pay so much attention to my appearance. One day I wore baggy boxer shorts that tended to hang down kind of low but I thought that no one would see me. However, I was so embarrassed when a female attorney recognized me!
The Bible warns us to be authentic all the time and not be different on the outside compared to our insides. As the Bible says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. ). The world is looking for authenticity. How do we handle ourselves through our struggles? People are watching this. They want to see if we still behave according to Christ when the pressure is on and not just on Sundays.
The four friends of the paralytic were authentic. How authentic is your faith? Do people see the evidence of your faith in you? It is written, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). We should take some time to assess how much of those aforementioned qualities we possess. Would we rate a 10 on love or joy? We should pray to the Lord to help us enhance these qualities in our lives.
Finally, people who make a difference …
We all look for excuses to not do what we should but we should remember that all excuses are temporal or only work in this mortal life and not for an eternal life. We should also remember that life is not about us but about helping others.
The effects of our influence are far reaching and sometimes unforeseen. As the Bible says, “… He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’ And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this’” (Mark 2:10-12). An amazing thing happened because four friends lived their faith and were willing to risk themselves to invest in eternal rewards.
It is written, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. NIV). Sometimes we do not realize the extent our influence has in someone’s life. A teacher started a project with her class on recognizing and honoring people that made a difference in the student’s life. She gave each student a blue ribbon honoring them for making a difference. She then told each to go out and find others to honor with blue ribbons and to keep the chain of blue ribbons going by passing the honor on down. One student gave a blue ribbon to a junior executive who in turn gave a blue ribbon to his grouchy boss. The grouchy boss thought for a long time and finally decided to honor his long neglected son. As he did so, the son broke down in tears and confessed that he had planned to commit suicide that night but now because his father finally showed his love with that blue ribbon, he wanted to live. Both their lives were turned around for the better because of one teacher’s project to make a difference and one child’s faith and blue ribbon.
Who was it that made a difference in your life? Before I met Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, life was about me but now my life is all about Christ. Because my life is not about me, God can ask me to do things without my asking why. My change from a judge to a pastor was not a career change but a calling from God. Our adoption of our little son from
People who make a difference are willing to demonstrate their faith more than they are willing to declare it. They live authentic lives in which they live their Christian beliefs every day. They see risks for God as investments with eternal rewards.
1. How have you demonstrated your faith more than declare it?
2. How are you making you life authentic according to Christ?
3. What have you risked for God?
4. How are you influencing lives?
5. Why is there no significant difference between Christians and non Christians in behavior?
6. Why is faith not enough?