Have we ever considered just how much your life, and how you live, influences others? Like everyone else, when I was a child I was influenced by many, many people around me. From my parents, siblings, grand parents, relatives, neighbors, teachers, friends, enemies, good and bad people, and even bullies in school. Positive or negative, everyone we come in contact with influences us and makes our life what it is and helps shape who we are.
When I was a very small child, there were many cars, but still quite a few farmers and rural people used teams to work the land and wagons to go back and forth to town. I remember in particular one dignified white haired gentleman who drove a team of beautiful well groomed horses, and following his well behaved team were equally well behaved dogs that never barked or left the wagons wheel. Even as a child I was impressed with his control, dignity and respect for everyone he met. I thought, when I grow up, I want people to look at me with respect just like that old man. That man influenced my life in a good and positive way. Then I remember another ragged old man, who drove a team of half starved, every rib showing horses, by our place in the country on his way to town. You could hear him swearing, and whipping his horses long before they came into view. He seemed to have almost no control over his animals, except with beating and a constant hail of profanity. Which person do you suppose influenced a five year old the most in a positive way when he grew up?
If you doubt that you influence others, especially youngsters, let a kid spend the day helping you as you go about your working day. Then tomorrow listen to what he says and see how he does things. Only then will you see how careful you must be about how you handle every stressful situation, and about every careless word you may utter. Once when I was young, my three year old came off with a bad word and I reprimanded him for it. His answer was, “why not dad, that’s what you say when you work on cars?” We often think no one cares what we do, but not only do children notice what we say and do, the whole world is watching what we as Christians say and do. Some only to find fault and say, “look at that so called Christian hypocrite.” Remember everything you do and say influences someone, and someday a careless act or word may very well come back to haunt you.
My grandfather was probably the greatest influence on my life of anyone I ever knew. He was honest, a hard worker, kind to everyone he ever met, never mistreated an animal, calm in all situations, except once I remember, when he confronted a man who was severely beating his wife in the road in front of our house. He taught me all the finer points of life, such as most of the trees and plants of the woods, plus how to use a double bit ax, a crosscut saw, a garden hoe, a draw knife, to swim, fish, camp, build a fire, scull a boat, harness a team, and use a turning plow, which I never did quite master, and many more useful skills that have served me well my whole life. Probably the most important thing of all, he took me to church with him, that is, when I would go. I think that old man could quote every word of the bible, but he never pushed religion on me, but simply showed me by example, how he conducted his life. I must say, he is the reason I am a Christian today. Sadly he never saw the fruits of his influence on me, for he died long before I changed my rowdy ways and turned my life around. Our influence can and may very well reach far beyond the grave.
Jesus Christ is our perfect example of how we should conduct our lives and treat others. He tells us to be kind and tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God forgave us in Christ (Eph. 4:32). You can never go wrong by being a good example to influence those around you, for in so doing you are not only helping others, you are laying up treasures in heaven, and great will be your reward when this brief life is over (James 1:12, Matt. 5:12, I Cor. 2:19, Titus 2).
We invite all who would, to come together with us each Sunday morning at Kedron on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, Kentucky, to worship God in spirit and in truth. We neither add to God’s word or take from it. Bible study at 10:00 and Worship at 11:00. Brother Richard Sitz speaks on the first Sunday of each month and Crittenden Drive Church of Christ has graciously supplied us with a host of excellent guest speakers for the remaining weeks of the month. We invite one and all to come visit with us and be uplifted by these fine presentations of the “Good News” of God’s Holy Word.