Preacher's Blog

Preacher's Blog

“Do You Appreciate Your Influence?”

Categories: Christian Living, Encouragement, Family, Joshuah Ellis, Theology

This past weekend, my family and I traveled back to my hometown to celebrate my grandpa’s (or PaDad as we call him) 83rd birthday. It was a great day filled with lots of laughs, food, tears and even a busted brisket, but we’ll save that story for another time. At some point during that special day in his home, I began to look at PaDad’s pictures. He has millions of them and they’re all on the wall. He has pictures of his 7 kids, 13 grandkids and 9 great-grandkids during various stages of life covering the walls and just about every flat surface in the house.

One picture I noticed was one I didn’t recognize. So, I asked my mom who the man in the photograph was. She told me that it was her PaPa (PaDad’s father). Then she started to tell me a bit about him and how he started some of the trends in our family, trends I am familiar with but had no idea where they came from. For example, when my mom was a little girl, PaPa gave her a nickname that my PaDad still uses for her to this day. I also found out that my late aunt Joni’s bedtime routine which consisted of putting Vick’s VapoRub under her nose (gross), and putting a glass of water on the nightstand before bed was actually something she got from him. Who knew, right?

So what is the point of sharing all of this weirdly specific personal information? I guess what I got from it was a reminder that even the most insignificant of our actions can permeate the lives of those around us. Our actions, whether good or bad, work toward establishing our influence with other people. So, as Christians, we ought to ask ourselves if we truly appreciate the influence we are establishing in the lives of those with whom we come into contact.

Peter talks about how important this is in 1 Peter 2:11-12. He makes the point here that our conduct must be honorable. The use of the word “gentiles” in this verse adds an interesting twist as he highlights the importance of honorable behavior among those who are not followers of God. This means that as Christians, we are not only to exhibit moral behavior around one another, but also around those who are not of God. But, why? Who cares if the “gentiles” see a less godly side of us? It’s not like they care or will hold us accountable like other Christians will. Peter gives us the reasoning in verse 12. He tells us that God being glorified on the day of visitation is the reasoning behind this call to a higher behavioral standard. While there is some disagreement on what the day of visitation is, I understand it to be the day on which any non-Christian considers obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is because of that day, the day on which someone might have a question or a desire to know about Jesus, that we must establish good influence so that we can have the credibility needed to teach them what God wants them to know.

Also, I couldn’t help but consider Lois and Eunice when my mom was telling me about my great-grandfather. In 2 Timothy 2:5, Paul, as he writes to Timothy, credits Timothy’s faith (at least in part) to his mother and grandmother. What an example they must have set! When you think about how new Christianity was during this time and the tremendous difficulties associated with being a Christian, one can only assume that these were some strong women. Their faithfulness to God was so strong that it spanned 3 generations. That’s not even something that is super common in today’s time, much less during the first century. It kind of makes you wonder what actions of yours are going to endure generations after your life, doesn’t it.

So whether we are talking about nicknames, incredibly weird bedtime routines, or the example of a faithful Christian, there are some absolutes that we would do well to consider.

  1. Someone is always watching you and you will be imitated.
  2. You will not only be imitated when you are doing good. Even the bad stuff will get picked up.
  3. We all have a responsibility to understand and appreciate the fact that we are always establishing influence with those around us.

Does your example point those around you (even the “gentiles”) to Jesus or does it pull them away from them?


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