Toward the end of a meeting in a small country church, the visiting preacher made a request of everyone present: “Is the person here who most influenced you in becoming a Christian? Maybe it is your mother or your father, your Sunday school teacher, your minister, or your neighbor. I wish that each of you would now rise and go and shake hands with the one who most influenced you to follow Christ.”
All over the church auditorium people went to one another and encouraged one another by saying: “Thank you.” Many went to parents. Others went to Sunday school teachers. Some went to the preacher. The longest line, though, formed in front of a woman in her late 70’s. She had never taught a class or filled any prominent role in the life of that congregation, but for many decades her quiet life of consecration had touched more people than anyone else. In worship, in her home, and in the community, she had led many to Christ.
It is the power of example of a godly life which may convert a mate when sermons from the preacher will not do any good. It is the consistent acting out of faith by a parent which can be the most powerful influence on a child. Maybe you do not have the ability to be a great song leader. Maybe you do not feel like you can take on the responsibility of being a teacher. Maybe you will never serve in a prominent role in the church. But none of these are a cause for concern. If you live a faithful, devoted life of service to the Lord, you will have a wholesome influence on all of those around you.
And it doesn’t matter how old or young a person is, everyone can be a good example to those around them. Paul told Timothy to: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
So let us all take advantage of opportunities to encourage those who have been a good influence on us in our lives, and let us all rededicate ourselves to being a good example for others!
“I shall pass through this world but once, any good I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.”