The Importance of Influence
Influence is an agency serving to affect, modify or sway in some way. All of us have influence either for good or for bad. It behooves each of us to check to see which one we are having on others.
We Should Be Salt
Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men" (Matt. 5:13). Salt is that which makes our food pleasant to eat and preserves it. Farmers well know the use of salt in preserving meat. Here Jesus is speaking of individuals who were salt. That is, they are to be instruments by which the world is influenced from moral corruption. If salt becomes saltless or loses its saltiness, then it has no more value. It is good for nothing. If we lose our influence we are then good for nothing.
We Must Be Light
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:1416). As the sun makes objects visible, God's people, by their influence, show to the world the requirements of our God. As a city set on a hill cannot be hid, the actions of Christians are visible to the world. God's people must be seen to have the proper influence. As a lighted candle benefits others, so God's children must let their light shine as they live faithful lives in the presence of others. The purpose of this light shining is to cause men to glorify God. Paul told the Philippians, "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:15).
Christians Are Leaven
Leaven or yeast will pervade a mass of dough, spreading throughout the entire amount, causing it to rise. The Lord uses the figure of leaven to teach us about our influence. Hosea refers to it in this language: "They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened" (Hos. 7:4). Paul wrote the Corinthians, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened" (1 Cor. 5:7). Here, Paul is after the Corinthians because they were glorying in the sin of fornication which had been committed by one of their members. This was having its influence. As leaven influences the whole mass of dough in which it finds itself, so does sin have its influence in the lives of those around us. When such is the case, there must be a purging so we can be a new lump.
A Christian Is An Epistle
Paul wrote the Corinthians, "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men" (2 Cor. 3:2). Paul taught and converted the Corinthians as we can read in Acts 18:8. They became an epistle. An epistle was a letter. These Christians were known and read of all men. This is influence. When people read us, what do they read? What kind of influence are we having on others? This influence helped others see the kind of person that Paul was. Our lies must be an open book.
Let all of us work on our influence for good.
Truth Magazine XXII: 4, pp. 77-78