I was reading this morning from Nahum, and something caught my attention. Our influence will be a matter of great responsibility.
And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute,
graceful and of deadly charms,
who betrays nations with her whorings,
and peoples with her charms.
Behold, I am against you,
declares the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will make nations look at your nakedness
and kingdoms at your shame.
Ninevah was under judgment, and sexual immorality was what was pointed out. Ninevah was receiving a judgment from God because they were not only involved in sexual immorality (whorings), but they influenced a large part of the Near East with their immorality. It was their influence and how they used it that brought such judgment from God. We should know that with influence comes great responsibility. When we ask God for influence, we ask Him to give us the burden of judgment that can come with it. The yoke is easy and the burden light when we carry it with Jesus. Without Jesus, the burden is too big, and our pride will bring destruction eventually.
I am not huge title guy, so, if someone wants to call me pastor, great. I believe that my being a pastor is displayed in the life I give to others and I do not need a title to do that. Why do I mention this? We are human, and it is easy for us to strive for recognition, title, and affirmation not realizing the weight of it all. God does not judge us based on our title, He judges us based on our actual influence.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. – Luke 12:48b
Influence is not given, it is earned. One cannot claim ignorance when confronted with their own influence, and so we are responsible. Influence grows, titles stay the same. Nations, empires, and communities have seen destruction due to their respective influence. So what? Why does this matter to me?
You and I are people of influence, and how much influence may vary, but the responsibility is like in kind. Perhaps your influence is your children and family, or you lead in a corporate environment. It does not matter; we need to take inventory and observe how our influence is impacting others. God takes influence very seriously as we see in Nahum, but Jesus gave us this to chew on:
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. – Matthew 18:5-6
As a believer, it is a privilege to lead and have influence. It is when I take inventory of the influence I have, that I see my weaknesses, strengths and the hand of God in my life. It is a joy to see what God has done and will do. We are all influencers and may we all take it with joy and gratitude for the opportunity to show others a Christ-like life.