Make A Difference By Your Influence

With Easter fast approaching, it reminded me this week of a news report I read on-line a few years ago from New York City. Just days before Easter, a fellow was caught on camera breaking into a fine clothing store. What was strange is that he presumably paused to pray before proceeding to gain illegal entrance to the establishment. At least that is what it seemed, because he bowed his head and then did the sign of the cross. I suppose he was asking for God’s help and blessing. I am pretty sure his prayers were not answered and his actions were not blessed.
After the break-in story was in the news and the camera photo made public, several reported over the next few days that it was a preacher (of a sort) in the local community who already had a questionable reputation. Now I don’t know the man but I couldn’t help wonder if he were trying to get a new suit for Easter—maybe wanting to look his best for services. Anyway, whomever he may be and whatever reason he had for breaking in, it seems to me he ended up not looking good and serves, instead, as a sorry example.
This unusual news item does remind us that someone is always watching and we have a responsibility as Christians to be a positive example and a good influence for those around us. The Apostle Paul gave this instruction, “Take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (Philippians 3:17). This teaches us to be aware and learn from those around us who live according to the blueprint of Christian living. It also serves to remind us that others are watching our lives and we should strive to be a positive influence on all we touch in life. Paul also said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). That is good advice! Be a good example as you follow the best example!
Alexander Hamilton once said, “This I learned from the shadow of a tree—my influence may fall where I can never be.” This is the way of influence. It reaches beyond you and falls on people and in places of which you are unaware. So exercise extreme care as you cast the shadow of your influence.
Last week at church, through the Disciple Now Weekend, we saw evidence that our students at FBC Pompano are striving to be serious disciples of Jesus in their young lives. That brings to mind our great responsibility to demonstrate our love and support but also to give them our godly guidance and influence. We have an awesome responsibility to impact their lives (and others) positively! This fact alone should drive us daily and humbly to our knees. Our prayer should be like that of the psalmist who said, “May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the LORD Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O God of Israel” (Psalm 69:6).
A blind man carried a lantern at night. A person asked him why he did so since he did not need it. He replied, “I do so to keep others from stumbling over me.” Even so, we must see to it that no one stumbles along the way because of us.
Yes, we can make an actual difference in someone’s life through our positive influence. Someone said, “The final chapter of our lives will not be written until all the facts are in and the last ripples of our influence reach the farthest shore of eternity.” True indeed! Think about it…
Speaking of a positive influence—this Sunday, March 10, in both of our Worship Services at FBC Pompano, we will honor one of our beloved Deacons, John Lay, by recognizing him as Deacon Emeritus—the highest honor we bestow on those who lead our Servant Ministry. There will be a lite refreshment fellowship in his honor following our Sunday services at 12:15 pm in the Fellowship Hall. I hope you will join in this celebration of a life of service.
Devotedly yours,
 Pastor Ron

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