We had ordered our food and while we were waiting, a single man was seated at a table near us. My date (I had to promise not to use her name, though you have a 50-50 chance of guessing who it was) had her back to the man, but I was facing him.
When the server brought out his drink, he also brought out our order. He gave the man his tea and, after giving us our food, the man called the server over and said, “I want what she has,” and he was pointing at my daughter’s food.
Apparently, he caught a whiff and/or a glimpse of her food and it made an impact on him. He decided, it would seem almost immediately, that what she had looked good to him and he wanted it.
After we left the restaurant, I asked her if she knew anything about what had happened in the restaurant. She said no. I relayed what happened and then asked her the words every PK (Preacher’s Kid) dreads…“You know what I have to do now…”
“Yes, you’re going to use it as a sermon illustration or bulletin article,” was her reply.
“You are correct,” I said, “But what is the point?”
“I guess influence?” was the answer I got...and she was exactly right!
Without even realizing it, she had influenced a decision that someone else had made. Her back was turned, it was a noisy, lunch time restaurant, she didn’t have a clue...but a choice she had made impacted someone else.
We can impact other people just by the decisions that we make. Most of the time those other people are our friends or at least people that we know. This impact can be to make a right choice or a wrong choice.
The Bible has many instructions that relate to our influence of others. For example, Paul tells the young man Timothy “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12, ESV)
Timothy was to use his influence to be an example...to influence and impact the lives of others in a way that would bring honor and glory to God.
So what about you? How are you using your influence? From the way you act outside of a church building, can other people tell that you are a Christian?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)
If someone who knows you best looks at you do they see Christ shining through your life? Does the way your “light shines” bring glory to your Heavenly Father?
What about if someone who doesn’t know you very well (or at all) looks at you? Do they see that you have something good? Do they catch a “whiff” of the “aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) and immediately say, “Hey, I want what she has!” as they look at you?
Believe it or not, accept it or not, YOU are a living, breathing, walking advertisement for the Eastgate church of Christ. More importantly than being an advertisement for our congregation though, is that you are an advertisement for Christ!
So when people look at you, are they attracted to Christ or are they repelled by the way you portray Christ?
What is your influence on others?