Influence is a powerful thing. We all influence others. We influence family members, friends, co-workers and even total strangers. It’s up to each individual to decide what kind of influence they will be. Will you influence others in a positive way or a negative way? That decision is up to you and the answer is found in how you act, talk and live in front of others. Christians should guard and protect their influence by cautiously living in a way that will make a positive impact on others. Paul encouraged the Colossian Christians to be careful how they live. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”(Col.4:5-6) Paul didn’t want the Christians a Colosse to destroy opportunities with lost people by having a negative influence. This is something that every Christian should take to heart. We Christians wear the name of Christ every single day and everywhere we go. Since we belong to Christ and wear His name we are representing Jesus all the time. Some of us wear Cabot Church of Christ shirts and when we do we are a very visible representative of the Cabot Church and Jesus. There are those that have a Cabot Church of Christ sticker on their car. What about those who drive our church van that has Cabot Church of Christ on the side? If it’s a church shirt, sticker on your car or driving the church van, we must watch our conduct. We must be careful how we act and interact with others always, but especially when your shirt says Cabot Church of Christ. We should always be cautious how we conduct ourselves on the road while driving and especially with a church sticker on your car or driving the church van. Brothers and sisters, guard and protect your influence because when you do you are protecting the influence of Christ and His church.
Recently I received a phone call from a sister in another state that I’ve known for several years. Her family attended the congregation where I preached and I was privileged to baptize her son. It had been a while since we had been in contact so it was great to get reacquainted and find out all about her two, now grown, children. After the small talk she proceeded with the reason behind her call, which was to ask a few Bible questions. I felt honored that she thought highly enough of me to seek my answers to her questions. I did the best I could to answer her questions and then she said, “let us know if you ever make it out our way”. I graciously said I would but then explained that I stay pretty close to home most of the time so I don’t miss any of my kid’s activities. The next thing my friend said was both simple and enlightening. Her words were not earthshattering but remarkable words of wisdom for all parents. She said, “don’t you miss a thing”. Her wise counsel is when it comes to your kids make sure you don’t miss anything. She spoke with love and experience when she said it goes by too fast. It’s true, it really is. Our children grow up and we know that but we don’t realize how quickly it happens until all the activities come to a stop and we’re standing face to face and looking into the eyes of our adult son or daughter. Parents soak it up and truly cherish all the time you have with your kids. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.”(Psalms 127:3)
One of the greatest blessings one can enjoy in this life is belonging to a church family. A church family isn’t perfect and certainly makes mistakes. At times a church family can be forgetful. Sometimes church family members don’t agree and even argue. Remember Paul’s exhortation to a couple of sisters in the church at Philippi. “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.”(Phil.4:2) The blessing is knowing that no matter what, my church family has my back. Your church family is there to celebrate life’s victories with you and grieve with you through life’s difficulties. We all need encouragement and as a church family we serve as a source of encouragement for one another. “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong- that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”(Rom.1:11-12) Every Sunday is a family reunion with my church family. We should be encouraged by each other’s presence as well as our time together in worship to our Lord. Having a church family means you have several brothers and sisters in Christ who have your best interest at heart and want to do good to you. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”(Gal.6:10)
At the click of a camera the putt was missed and that professional golfer was seething in anger. The golfer walked straight to the woman in the gallery and verbally exploded on her for making the noise that caused him to miss the putt. As the enraged golfer walked away from the gallery the woman broke into tears. The playing partner of the angry golfer that day so many years ago was a familiar fellow by the name of Arnold Palmer. What Arnold did when he noticed the woman crying is the very thing that endeared him to millions of people all over the world. Arnold Palmer simply walked over to the crying lady and consoled her by saying don’t listen to him (angry golfer) he’s been in a bad mood all week. He then gave her his golf ball and continued on with the golf tournament. Since Arnold Palmer’s recent passing I’ve heard countless stories about him and they have all been positive. From the many legible autographs he’s written to the who knows how many pictures he took with his legion of fans. Even Arnold’s staff at his Bay Hill Golf Club in Florida spoke very highly of this genuine gentleman. Things like he was always kind and gracious to others. He was always willing to give his time for his fans. Indeed, the world lost a superstar golfer but more than that, the world lost a good man who knew how to treat others. I’ve heard that Arnold Palmer had a way of making whoever he came in contact with feel special. What if we all tried to be a little more like that and honor others? “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”(Rom.12:10)