The famous preacher and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher once said:

“The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others.”

Just think for a moment about all the individuals during the course of your life who have influenced you for good or bad. In my personal testimony that I like to share, I highlight five people who all played a part in shaping me, in particular steering me toward a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.


From a very early age, my parents read to me from my children’s Bible. They prayed with me each night at dinner and before bed, and regularly took me to church on Sunday mornings for worship and Sunday School. There was Ruby Davis, an older retired woman who taught my fifth grade Sunday School class who encouraged me to be diligent in prayer, and to get a good Bible to read, one that I understood. I remember one of my peers, a boy named Jeff Lindeman, who shared with me on a number of occasions about his coming to faith in Jesus Christ and how that made me want what he had, a close relationship with God.
It was Jeff who invited me to hear a speaker with Student Ventures when I was in seventh grade. His name was Roger Hershey. It was Roger who clearly presented the Gospel to me and invited me to pray to trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Your life
Each of these had a positive spiritual influence on my life. I would invite you to think through all the people who’ve had similar influence upon your own life. Pause, and celebrate the fact that God caused their lives to intertwine with yours. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for them. Maybe, you might even give them a call or write them a note expressing your gratitude for them and the influence they’ve had. During this time of being locked down they’d probably really appreciate it.
Now, take a moment to consider if there are those who would call you, if so prompted. How have you been an influencer and are you an influencer even now? As followers of Jesus Christ, it ought to be something we intentionally aim for – to influence people for the good and especially for God. Jesus invites us to when He says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV) As He influenced people to enter into His Kingdom we continue to do the same. And He empowers us to do it!
Let me challenge you, if you know Jesus as Savior and Lord to strive to be an influencer. Ask the Spirit to strengthen you for this purpose and look for and pray for opportunities to influence those around you for Jesus, even if in some small way. We underestimate small things, but let’s remember that small things add up and significant things often have small beginnings. Jesus’ teaching about the mustard seed has application here.
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul