“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” —Matthew 5:13–16 NLT
Can you be a person of influence for Jesus in your workplace? In your neighborhood? In your school? At the gym, the mall, the church? Can you be Jesus to those with whom you cross paths? When you see someone in need, do you lend a hand? Can you respond to conflict differently than the world? How do you handle times of difficulty? Are you kind, but firmly grounded in Christ? Are you investing in people more than projects and tasks? Do what Jesus did. Get to know people first, tell them that God’s looking for them, and point them in his direction. When you do, you’ll be in good company with Jesus.
He was misunderstood. Some of Jesus’ closest friends rejected him and dropped him. Jesus’ area of influence was near where he lived, where he spent most of his time. Outside your house, you spend most of your time at the office or church (or if you’re a minister, perhaps your church or a local restaurant is your office!). These are major ministry settings for you! Relationships really mattered to Jesus.
So how do you do it? How do you have influence? How do you do what Jesus did? First make sure that this verse stays hidden in your heart!
“Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval—only God approval” (1 Thess 2:4 MSG).
If you approach having influence on others with this verse in mind, and not with fear or ego in mind, it will significantly change your focus. So memorize this verse and keep it close by to remind you what you are doing if you take on this challenge. So how do you become a person who helps influence people toward the new life that Jesus brings?
The first thing you’ve got to do in all this is build relationships. Did you become a Christian through a TV ministry or by reading a theology book? Possibly. But most people accept Christ because a family member or a pastor or a friend built a real relationship with them and shared God’s love with them.
Here are five things that you can do to build these relationships the way Jesus did:
- Start with people you know.
- Pray. Ask God with whom he wants you to develop a deeper friendship.
- Use common interests to your advantage.
- Listen. When you listen to someone, it shows that you have special respect for them. Most people have very few friends who really listen to them.
- Talk about spiritual things early. You can do this casually. A friend asks, “What are you doing this weekend?” You say, “I’m going to the mall, hanging out with Becky, and going to church.” “You go to church? Really? Why or where?”
Making some or all of these things a priority will result in you having the opportunity to really make a difference for eternity in someone’s life.
Check in next Sunday for the Week Three devotional – Commitment to Invest