Mick’s Memo – A Critical Element of Influence
At some level, we all want our life to make a difference. We hope we can give away some skills, knowledge, comfort, encouragement and positive guidance. We would like to see some productive ripples from the pebble that represents us in the pond. We want to have an influence—in our marriage, family, neighborhood, church, community and beyond. We would like there to be staying power in our influence—beyond the moment, even beyond our lifetime.
What are some ingredients to influence? It helps to have experience, knowledge, technical or specialized skills, and interpersonal insight. It’s also helpful to possess a sense of timing for doing or saying the right thing, the right way when it is most effective. Planning skills and the ability prioritize efforts will also help maximize influence.
But what aspects of character are involved? Some would say you can be a person of powerful influence without being a person of character. I would submit that Scripture teaches otherwise. Godly character is essential to influence. Traits like integrity, compassion, faithfulness, kindness and truthfulness all come to mind. Then there is one that Jesus taught and demonstrated that was contrary to established ideas about influence in His time and is still overlooked in ours—influence comes from humble service. After listening to the disciples argue about their individual fitness for honor and glory, Jesus confronted them with a new paradigm about influence and leadership…
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)
Later Jesus would act this out by humbly washing their feet before the last supper. Finally, He branded their memories with His death for them on the cross.
We naturally serve ourselves. We must learn to serve others. We naturally magnify our strengths. We naturally minimize our weaknesses. When we expose ourselves to the light of God’s truth and perfection, we gain perspective. If we cultivate humility, the light will give us perspective to become teachable and others more prone to our influence. Humility unlocks God’s work in us and through us. Pride and arrogance stagnate our progress and stifle our effectiveness; regardless of what other impressive traits we may possess. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 (NIV) How would you know if you had a problem with pride?
Looking forward to continuing our series “Launching the Irresistible Church” as we follow the movement out from Jerusalem to gentile world.