This week I have been writing about having influence in another person’s life. Most particularly I have been telling of the people who have shaped and molded my life. At the same time I have tried to raise questions about the people who have touched your life and whose life you are shaping in turn. I meet numerous people who want to have influence but do not have any idea whose life they are molding or could shape. So let me give you some people I have found that are soft clay ready for tender hands.
1. Your Own Children or Grandchildren – I know this sounds obvious to most of us, but I encounter several parents and grandparents who never realize how much they are shaping the next generation. I want to especially underline the power of a grandparent. I have seen this played out first hand in the lives of my own children from both sides. Use your relationships for good.
2. The Children of Divorce & Single Parents – I am not sure we will ever know the potential harm done by having only one parent in the home. I know from personal experience that this group of kids are often screaming for attention with their words and their actions. There is an enormous open area for us to touch the next generation for Christ if we will put in the effort. A couple of times I took a group of teens on a fishing trip to Canada. I quickly learned that on every trip well over half of the kids had little influence from their fathers. Most of them had never had a man teach them to tie a hook, bait a line, catch a fish or clean it and cook it for supper.
3. Widows and Orphans – This one is not an option. James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
4. New Believers – This could be young people or simply older people who are new to faith. When someone comes to faith in Jesus as their Savior they are usually open to all kinds of ideas and people. One of my fears as a Church leader is that we do not do enough to mold this group of people. New believers are a great group to mentor. What if every new believer in the Church were “adopted” by a senior saint to help mold them?
5. Anyone You Have Contact With – All of us have people in our lives. We share our lives at breakfast, lunch, coffee, smoking breaks, sitting next to us in the bleachers, our neighbors and on and on it goes. Look around – I can guarantee there are people in your life who are looking for a positive influence.
My hope is that each one of us will use our life to help teach other people in the way of the Lord. Most of the time we just need to open our eyes to the opportunities that surround us. I hope that maybe today you will think of someone you can reach out to and influence. May God use you as a force for good in the lives of other people.