Matthew 5:13 -- You are the world's seasoning…to make it tolerable. If you lose your flavor what will happen to the world? And you yourselves will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
If a seasoning has no flavor it has no value. If Christians make no effort to have an effect on the world around them, they are of little value to God. If we are too much like the world, we are worthless. Christians should not blend in with everyone else, instead we should affect them positively, just as seasoning brings out the best flavor in food.
Luke 14:34 _ What good is salt that has lost its saltiness? Flavorless salt is fit for nothing _ not even for fertilizer. It is worthless and must be thrown out. Listen well, if you would understand my meaning.
Salt can lost its flavor. When it gets wet and then dries, nothing is left but a tasteless residue. Many Christians blend into the world and avoid the cost of standing for Christ, but Jesus says if Christians lose their distinctive saltiness, they become worthless. Just as salt flavors and preserves food, we are to preserve the good in the world, help keep it from spoiling, and bring new flavor to life. This requires planning, willing sacrifice, and unswerving commitment to Christ's Kingdom. Being "salty" is not easy. But if a Christian fails in this function, he fails to represent Christ in the world. How salty are you? How influential are you?
BECOMING A PERSON OF INFLUENCE
·Presidents George Bush, Jr. and Sr.
·Osama Bin Laden
Now I know, it's quite a diverse group and you are probably wondering what Jesus Christ could possibly have in common with Osama Bin Laden….all of us, each and every one of us who has ever drawn breath, has had or does have the power of influence.
We all want to believe that we are an influence on others. Our neighbors, our church family, our family (such as our husband and our children)….but sometimes we'd like to have more…..
My youngest son, Holden, recently sat down at the dinner table and proudly proclaimed (holding up his left hand) "Mom, I'm gonna eat with this hand, because I pee-pee'd with this one!" (holding up his right hand)
Now I know if I have told him once I've told him a thousand times that he should wash his hands every time after using the restroom and before eating!
But on the other hand….no pun intended…. He also astounds me with his understanding of spiritual principals. I'd like to think I had a little influence over that, but the restroom deal, I think is his father's! HAHA!
So… what is influence anyway?
Influence is defined by Webster's as the power to control or affect others by authority, persuasion or example. There are good influences and bad influences.
I don't know about you but I would rather be a good influence. I'd like to help you become a person of good influence as well.
Now we women know all about the powers of persuasion. When we find the man of our dreams, and we actually find out that he's not perfect…well that's no problem….we have the perfect solution for that! We know we're going to CHANGE that man! Isn't it true?
Most of us can influence our husbands to the extent of changing how he actually dresses himself on a daily basis! HAHA!
We might even get him to wear the same color socks, finally get him to wear tennis shoes with sports outfits instead of dress suits, shoes and actually match his pants with his socks, etc.!
A minister friend of mine liked to counsel young couples ready for marriage by letting the perspective bride know right off that things weren't going to be perfect. He'd tell her:
"When a woman married her knight in shining armor, she soon finds out that she has to clean up after his horse!"
History gives us many instances of a person with influence. Mother Teresa was such a person. She was once asked, "How do you measure the success of your work?" She looked puzzled for a moment and then replied. "I don't remember that the Lord ever spoke of success. He spoke only of faithfulness in love. This is the only success that really counts."
Mother Teresa also stated "I remember that at the beginning of my work I had a very high fever and in the delirious fever I went before St. Peter. He said to me, "Go back. There are no slums in heaven! So I got very angry with him and I said: Very well! Then I will fill heaven with slum people and you will have slums there. Then you will be forced to let me in. "
We will all have to go home to God! People throughout the world may look different or have a different religion, education or position, but they are all the same. They are the people to be loved. They are all hungry for love. The people you see in the streets of Calcutta are hungry in body, but the people in London or New York also have a hunger which must be satisfied.
The greatest poverty in the world is not the want of food but the want of love. You have the poverty of people who are dissatisfied with what they have, who do not know how to suffer, who give in to despair. The poverty of the heart is often more often difficult to relieve and to defeat! Every person needs to be loved!"
We and we only decide what type of influence we become, and it's actually different from person to person.
We are all persons of influence whether we realize it or not. We influence our families, our co-workers and our communities. What type of influence we give is up to us.
Influence is a curious thing. We all influence others on a different level. We may have a strong influence on our son while our husband may have stronger influence on our daughter, just as other people influence us differently.
If you want to be a positive influence in others lives mentoring is an important step in this process. Mentoring is pouring your life into other people and helping them reach their potential. Realize that you can truly make a difference in your families, friends and co-workers lives. Give of yourself.
If you look around, you'll realize that there are people in your life that want to be nurtured. You can nurture with encouragement, recognition, security and hope. It's a need of every human being. Some people feel that the best way to influence someone's life is to become an authority figure correct each other's errors, reveal weak areas that you feel they can't see themselves and give them so called "constructive" criticism.
John Knox stated that 'You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time..." So instead ...give positive encouragement.
(You Can do it!)
You can't harbor a secret dislike, you must give them love and respect. You need to make them feel they are an important part of your life and you can't do that if you have an underlying feeling of dislike.
The sad truth is most people are desperate for encouragement.
It's so simple:
We need to focus on giving rather than getting.
No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor is the reward for what he gave. We can give by showing each other love, giving respect, a sense of security, recognition and encouragement.
Bob Hope said, "If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble."
An example of bad giving:
The world's stingiest man went Christmas shopping but everything he saw was too expensive except a $50.00 vase that was on sale for $2.00 because the handle had been broken off He bought it and had the salesman ship it by mail so that his friend would think he had paid $50. 00 for it and that it had been broken in shipment. A week after Christmas he received a thank you note from his friend. "Thank you for the lovely vase. It was so nice of you to wrap each piece separately." So...if you are not genuine, the truth will find you out.
There are seven levels of giving.
1. Giving to the poor, but with bad grace.
2. Giving with a good grace, but not enough.
3. Giving enough,
but only after being asked.
5. Giving without knowing who will benefit from the gift.
6. Giving without the beneficiary of the gift knowing who is helping him.
7. Fighting poverty
by giving the poor person the means to escape from his condition..
Everyone needs to feel that they are important and valued. A person with good influence will take time to express love and appreciation for people close to them. Write notes, give them a pat on the back and an encouraging, appreciative hug.
Don't assume that
people know how you feel about them. Tell them. Nobody can be told too
often how much they are loved.
People will respond to respect.
For example: There was a story of a woman who moved to a small town. After being there for a short time, she complained to her neighbor about the poor service she received at the local drug store.
She was hoping her new friend would repeat her criticism to the store's owner.
The next time the
woman went to the drugstore, the druggist greeted her with a big smile
and told her how happy he was to see her and he said that he hoped she
liked their town..
'I suppose you told him how poor I thought the service was?' she asked. Well, no, "the neighbor said.. Instead, -- and I hope you don't mind -- I told him you were amazed at the way he had built up this small town drugstore, and that you thought it was one of the best-run drugstores you'd ever seen.
So you see respect will work better than criticism.
Another way to show our love would be to provide a sense of security. Integrity is one way to make people feel secure. Always do what is right! (even though others may view us suspiciously and call us "goody two shoes")
A traffic officer pulled a motorist over to the curb and demanded to see his driver's license. The driver produced a license, which the officer studied suspiciously for several minutes. Before waving him on. The officer explained "You were driving so carefully, I thought for sure you had an invalid license."
Do the best you can and treat others the way you want to be treated, because mentally they will be asking themselves these three questions: Can I trust you? Are you committed? And do you care about me as a person? Until people can trust you completely you'll have no influence on their lives.
Show appreciation to others. A little bit of recognition can go a long way. Walk slowly through the crowd. Remember people's names and take time to show them you care.
Be generous with encouragement.
George M. Adams calls encouragement "oxygen to the soul."
When a person feels encouraged, he can face the impossible and overcome incredible adversity. On the other hand a lack of encouragement can hinder a person from living a healthy productive life.
William A. Ward stated, "Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you."
Mary Kay Ash, stated: My company mascot is the bumblebee. Because of it's tiny wings and heavy body, aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly. But the bumblebee doesn't know that, so it flies anyway!"
To become a nurturer, learn to be "other-minded." Instead of thinking of yourself, put others first. Instead of putting others in their place try to put yourself in their place. It's not easy but the rewards are great.
Don't be like those of us who are like wheelbarrows -- only useful when pushed and very easily upset!
One of the rewards is a positive self-worth. If you are age 7 or 57 you could use help with your feelings about yourself Try to boost others self-worth and confidence.
You can also give a sense of belonging. It's one of the most basic human needs.
Do things that make people feel included, a part of something. As parents we need to make sure our children feel like important members of the family.
As a spouse we need to make the person we are married to feel like a cherished equal partner.
Bosses let their employees know that they are a valued part of the team.
Develop an other-person mind set. Look for ways to include others.
This farmer used to hitch up his old mule to a two-horse plow every day and say, "Get up, Beauregard! Get up, Satchel! Get up, Robert! Get up, Betty Lou!." One day his neighbor, heard him and asked 'How many names does' that mule have?" 'OH, he has only one, "answered the farmer. "His name is Pete. But I just put blinders on him and call out all the other names so he will think other mules are working with him. He has a better attitude when he's a part of the team.
For most people, it's not what they are that holds them back, but it's what they think they are not.
We can help them gain a more positive image of themselves and give them a feeling of significance. Woody Allen once said, "My only regret in life is that I'm not someone else."
When we nurture someone without expecting anything in return, they feel loved, respected and significant.
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is HOPE. Even if their sense of self is weak, and the don't have respect, or love they still have the HOPE of gaining respect, love and self-esteem.
o We need to commit to them.
o We need to believe in them.
o We need to be accessible to them.
o We need to give with no strings attached.
o We need to give opportunities with no expectations for a return investment..
o We need to lift them to a higher level.
And last BUT not least...
We need to listen.
Lyndon B. Johnson kept a sign on his office wall that read, "You ain't learnin' nothin' when you're doin' all the talkin'.
It isn't the things that go in one ear and out the other that hurt as much as the things that go in one ear, get all mixed up, and then slip out the mouth.
Listening is one of the ways we show respect. We often try to hard to impress others by showing ourselves to appear smart, witty or entertaining. If we want to relate well to others, we have to be willing to focus on what they have to offer. Be impressed, and interested not impressive and or boasting. Listening increases knowledge, generates ideas and builds loyalty.
Nobody ever listened herself out of a sale.
A funny thing happens when you don't make a practice of listening to people. They go and find others who will.
Listening also shows you are empathetic. Not everyone is empathetic. Are you empathetic?
A preacher was returning home after a visit to New England, and one of his parishioners met him at the train station.
"Well," asked the preacher, "how are things at home?"
"Sad, real sad, Pastor," answered the man. "A cyclone came and wiped out my house."
"Well, I'm not surprised," said the unsympathetic parson with a frown.
"You remember I've been warning you about the way you've been living. Punishment for sin is inevitable."
"It also destroyed your house, Pastor," added the layman. "It did?" the pastor said, momentarily surprised.
"Ah, me, the ways of the Lord are past human understanding."
Reach out to others with a strong hand, but a soft heart.
When the other
fellow takes a long time, he's slow.
Isn’t this soooo true??
To truly mentor another person, you need to know what truly matters to them.
o What do they cry
about? What touches their hearts. Listen with your heart.
And please don't take people for granted.
We pray for children
And we pray for
We pray for children
And we pray for
We pray for those
And we pray for
We pray for children
Ima J. Hughs
Bill McCartney, FOUNDER of PROMISE KEEPERS, made the statement, "Anytime you devalue people, you question God's creation of them." You can never tell people too often, too loudly, or too publicly how much you love them.
Once Again: Communicate from the heart. Be genuine.
A young man with a brand new degree in psychology was asked to deliver a speech to a group of senior citizens. For forty five minutes he talked to them on how to live your twilight years gracefully. When the speech was over an 80 year old woman came up to the young speaker and said, "your vocabulary and pronunciation were excellent, but I must tell you one thing that you'll come to understand as you get older, you don't know what you are talking about!"
No amount of knowledge, technique, or quick wittedness can substitute for honesty and the genuine desire to help others.
In summation you
might be asking yourself... I understand my power of influence on others,
but what can I do...
Nurture the people in your life to make them feel valued and loved.
Show faith in others so that they believe in themselves.
Listen to them so that you can build a relationship with them.
Understand them so that you can help them achieve their dreams.
Remember: A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do. _Leroy Eims.
Nobody cares how
much you know until he knows how much you care.
If you do good people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives -- do good anyway.
If you're successful you'l1 win false friends and true enemies-- succeed anyway.
The good you do today will perhaps be forgotten tomorrow -- do good anyway.
Honesty and integrity and frankness make you vulnerable -- have integrity and be honest and frank anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only hot dogs --fight for the underdogs anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them -- help them anyway.
If better is possible, then good is not enough.
Love is the filling from one's own, another's cup.
Love is the daily laying down …and the taking up:
A choosing of the stony path…through each new day.
That others you may tread with ease... smoother way.
Love is not blind, but looks abroad…through other's eyes;
And asks not, Must
I give?"…but "May I sacrifice?"
And burdened walks, that other lives…may buoyant wing.
Hast thou a love like this?…within thy soul?
'Twill crown thy life with bliss…when thou dost reach the goal.
You will influence from the grave.
I know that statement sounds strange, and no, I haven't gone completely off my rocker. I'll explain.
How many of you here have lost a loved one to the grave? Do you still think of that loved one...?
Do you still pattern your life by the way your father or mother taught you?
Let me give you a personal example:
My father was an outdoors man ... a man of the mountains. We actually put that on his tombstone as his epitaph. "A man of the mountains, a man for God." And that is such a true statement and an honest reflection of the way he lived. Anyway, to make a long story semi-short, (haha)!
My Dad could do crow-calls. He could actually make a crow call better than a crow could! It's the truth! He would often caw just to see how many crows would come flying!
Now after his passing to be with Jesus, nearly every morning, especially in the summertime or in the fall, when I hear a crow cawing in the air, whether it's in flight or up on the rooftops. I think of my Dad.
The first time I presented this topic it was at a women's retreat at King's College. I was running late and was rushing in to the auditorium where I was to speak. My sister was accompanying me and we both were dashing through the door, when overhead a crow cawed.
We both stopped dead in our tracks, looked at each other and kind of laughed to ourselves. My sister said, "oh, sis, that's just Dad telling you to do a good job." We both went into the auditorium kind of comforted from the thoughts of our Dad..
I'm not trying to tell you that my father was reincarnated as a crow by any means or stretch of the imagination ... but I do want you to understand that the actions you make today, will be remembered tomorrow, whether you're here, or not.
Your loved ones will remember how you made apple pie, how you cared for them when they were sick, how you encouraged... or discouraged. The advice you gave (good or bad) ... the love you gave or didn’t give (good or bad) ... even if you're in the grave.
We can also let someone of influence in our life keep us in mourning after they are gone, simply because we loved them so much. I had to come to the point that I could look for that crow and smile…kind of say "hello" to my Dad in my heart of hearts, and go on with my life the way I knew he would have wanted me to.
But influencing from the grave…that's kind of a scary thought, huh? And it places a lot of responsibility on our shoulders, doesn't it?
Let's make those memories the best they can be. Let's become a person of influence...while we are still living and beyond…