My eldest son and I were reading the parable of the Good Samaritan from his Action Bible (Action Bible– is a comic book style retelling the major points of scripture). In the parable a man is beaten, robbed (we assume he’s a Jewish man from the text) and left for dead on the side of the road. Along comes a priest; he passes by the injured man on the other side of the road. Along comes a Levite (priest’s helper) and takes the same path. Next a Samaritan comes down the road. Samaritans and Jews are sworn enemies. It would be very easy for the Samaritan man to say to himself “this is my enemy, why should I help him?” But he does not. He has compassion for the man and bandages his wounds, transports him and pays for his medical bills.
It is a parable with much depth, but what strikes me today is the notion of influence. This definition of influence is from Merriam Webster “:the power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen: a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way”. I believe that the’ Good Samaritan’ spoken of by Jesus is an influential human being. He affected the beaten man in a very important way. He probably saved the man’s life. This influence, this power to affect or change was on my mind—so I brought it to my Friends in Christ.
On the way to dinner, I contrived a question: What kind of influence do you hope to have (or are you having) in your home, work, community or world? Although preconceived, it produced a lot of great conversation and some decent self-reflection as well. We all exert an influence and sometimes we don’t realize how wide or how deep this is. Though our dinner conversation discussed our most significant realm of influence (which is within our own homes with our young children); we also discussed the influence our decisions and words have in our church, community and world. Personally, I think it is well worth the time for the discussion to gain feedback and insight from trusted friends (and I feel truly blessed to have participated in this conversation with dear Christian friends) .
What influence do you have? What or whom influences you?
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:13-15 NLT.
My influence is, unashamedly, first and foremost from Christ. Don’t misunderstand. I am far from perfect, but I am continually looking to Christ and his followers as a moral, philosophical, ethical compass for navigating this life. Influenced by Christ is how I wish to live out the remainder of my days. The Spirit of the Living God dwelling in my heart and mind can and will help me to do this. I will still succumb to the sinful human desires within me; but that means I need God’s grace all the more.
May you face the day under the influence of Jesus’ perfect love. May you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as you go about your life influencing those around you with truth, grace and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Influenced by and Influencing through the Gospel of Christ,