Take a few minutes and think about some of the people that God has brought into your life _ people who have influenced you in your decision-making processes.
Who is the most influential family member? Maybe it’s your spouse or your mom or dad maybe it’s a grandparent, or an aunt or uncle, or a sibling _ the one that took time to help you become the person you are. Who is that very special person?
Who was your most influential teacher _ the one that peaked your intellectual curiosity _ who challenged you to stretch the way you think _ who encouraged you to pursue your dreams. Maybe it was in grade school or middle school or high school. Maybe it was in college or trade school _ maybe it was at home or at church. Well, whoever it was, whenever it was _ that person made a difference in how you think. Who is that very special person?
Who was your most influential spiritual leader? Maybe it was a pastor, or a youth minister or a Sunday School teacher _ maybe a spouse or parent _ a sibling or a cousin _ maybe a friend or a neighbor _ whoever it was, it was that someone who showed you what it means to be a follower of Christ, who prayed both with you and for you, who taught you, who encouraged you. Who is that very special person?
What professional person helped you become the person you are at work? Maybe it was an employer or a co-worker_ someone whose book you’ve read _ someone that helped you become more committed to excellence _ more effective in doing your job. Who is that very special person?
Take a moment to think of who these people are, and what they’ve done for you. Then take a moment to thank God for the role they’ve played in your life and while you’re at it, think of a way to show those special people your gratitude.
Ok, now I want you to take a moment to imagine this: Wouldn’t it be great if you could have that same positive influence for others? Wouldn’t it be great if the words that you use would strengthen and encourage them _ if the example you set for them today could give them a guideline to follow in the years ahead?
When your life connects with other people, you are an “influencer”. Maybe your circle of influence reaches hundreds or thousands of people. Maybe your circle of influence is small, reaching the dozen or so people in your Sunday School class or a handful of co-workers or the members of your family or members of the bowling team or the spell bowl team or a few close friends at school _ maybe it’s the praise team or some other group at church.
Like it or not your influence is powerful for those in your circle. The question is what kind of influence are you leaving in your wake? Is it good or bad _ is it positive or negative _ is it building people up or tearing them down. When you walk away are people discouraged or encouraged _ are they glad they spent time with you or happy to see you leave?
Since we are all leaders _ people that influence other people I think it would be good for us to not only be thankful for those that have influenced us but also to consider some ways that we can have a positive influence on those we contact.