This is my final installment for this week on having a positive influence in your life and in your world. Yesterday I listed some of the people whose life you can touch for good. I realize that many people will say, “I agree with that. Now what?” How do we impact the lives of others in a positive way? Here are some suggestions:
1. Follow God Yourself – In Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 7-9 we have this great image of impressing God’s word on our children. The preceding verses (4-6) say that the word of God should be in our heart first. You are to love the Lord Your God before you try to impress your beliefs on another person. Now that does not mean that we have to be perfect, but that does mean that sending our children to church programs that we will not attend ourselves can prove to be worthless. Much of our influence is more “caught than taught.”
2. Volunteer for ministry – Some people, especially children, will come to Church without a strong Christian influence in their life. When you volunteer you put yourself in a position to fill that void. Giving your time to things such as being as a greeter, Sunday School teacher or youth sponsor opens the doors for greater influence.
3. Be Available – Keep time in your calendar open for other people. What would happen if we gave a specific time to other people just for influence. Josh Hunt once wrote a book in which he suggested giving your Friday nights to God. He took that night every week to open his home to teenagers, eat pizza, play games and just hang out with people of all ages. It changes his life and Church. In this process he also about to double his Sunday School class in 2 years.
4. Don’t Be in a Hurry – I struggle to do this one, but it is a great idea. I once heard a preacher of a growing Church say that one of his secrets to success was to “walk slowly through the crowds.” He knows that those 1-5 minute encounters each week could be used for God if he opened up his life to it.
5. Don’t Do Things Alone – An older minister once told me to “never do anything alone.” He was not talking about sin and temptation and having someone to help you through it which is a good idea. Instead he was saying that you can pour your life into another person in the margins of your time. A 20 minute trip to the hardware store could be an opportunity for you to take a teenager with you and talk about the world. That lunch hour could be a time to share your life with a co-worker. I always like to take someone with me when I go fishing. It is a low pressure time to talk about everything. Use your time.
6. Find Your Niche – Each one of us has our own gifts and abilities. Not everyone is gifted as a teacher or preacher. That’s okay. What are you good at? How could you use that for God? Maybe that is writing a blog like this to teach other people, maybe that is teaching some teenage girls to bake, coaching sports with a Christian attitude, or any number of other things from building, repairing, cleaning, giving to serving. God has made each of us unique and you can use your unique life and lifestyle to shape other people.
I am sure there are other ways to touch the lives of people. These are some of the most effective things I have found in my life. Maybe you can add to my list with a comment. My hope is that we will use our life to make an impact in the world for Jesus. I know that it rarely happens without some thought and effort on our part. Maybe this will get you thinking and the rest is up to you.