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With Influence Comes Responsibility

“DO I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the way I influence others?”  Hmm…. That was a question I asked myself this morning.  How do others perceive me?  Is my influence good or bad?  Do I act in a responsible manner?

                I’ll have to confess that I never really gave the “responsibility” part much thought.   I knew that, by nature, I influenced others. But taking responsibility for that influence?  Wow, that brought a whole new dimension to it.  With responsibility comes a thought out, purposeful decision to act in a particular way.  If I looked at each action as an opportunity to impact a life, what a difference it would make.   How many lives could I positively affect just by consciously making an effort to act on purpose?

                I just finished reading the book LEAD… for God’s Sake!: A Parable for Finding the Heart of Leadership by Todd G. Gongwer.  Although the book was written for leaders, I found that every leadership concept within its pages applies to ordinary people just like me.   Whether I realize it or not, I lead others every day by my actions and words.  What I say and do has an influence on those who see and hear.  Be it positive or negative,  I am responsible for how my actions affect those around me.

                Paul gives an example of how actions can influence others.  In his first letter to the Christians, Paul explains that more mature Christians, if they are careless with their actions, can have a negative effect on new converts or weaker Christians.  It is better if they abstain all together, rather than providing an example that may make someone stumble and sin.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?  So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.  When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. (1 Corinthians 8:9-13, NIV)

                Let’s face it.  We are being watched.  We must be conscious of our actions.  If we view, however, our ability to impact a life positively as a gift from God, it will make being responsible more fun. On page 150, in Todd G. Gongwer’s  book, he states, “Just think what it’d be like if we all lived our lives like that.  Valuing each and every person we encounter as if they truly were a central part of our purpose, as if the opportunity to positively impact a life was a gift from God that each of us could give to others endlessly” (emphasis mine).

                I don’t know about you, but that gives me chill bumps.  To think, that I can give others a gift from God everyday by the way I act, is exciting.  It gives me a purpose to live and value each person I come into contact with. It gives me an opportunity to make that person’s life better.  It allows me to be a glimpse of God they may have never seen.

                The people I encounter are people just like me.  They are created and loved by God.  They deserve the opportunity to meet Him and experience the love He so freely offers.  It’s up to me to give them them the opportunity to experience that gift.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.   (Titus 2:7-8a, NIV)

Prayer:  Dear Lord,  thank You for the valuable insights I learned from the book LEAD…for God’s Sake!.  May I apply them to my life and live in a responsible manner knowing that my influence, good or bad, will impact those around me.  May I give the gift of positive influence so that others may see You in me.  May I be a leader on Your behalf.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile and earl53.

Gongwer, Todd G.  LEAD...for God's Sake!: A Parable for Finding the Heart of Leadership.  Carol Stream:  Tyndale House Publishers,Inc., 2011. Print.