You’ve probably heard the term “influencer.” They’re all over social media these days– everywhere from TikTok to YouTube, Instagram to Pinterest, Facebook to Twitter… you get the idea. They’re the ones who are fashionable and in the know. They’re the ones who…well, influence you.
Dictionary.com defines the word as “a person or thing that influences; a person who has the power to influence many people, as through social media or traditional media.”
Did you know that God designed you to be an influencer? It’s true. Whether you realize it or not, your words and actions have an influence on those around you. Your life has an impact on the world.
And you don’t even need a Twitter account.
Skeptical? Let me tell you a story and maybe you’ll change your mind.
“The Best Years Of Your Life”
My childhood and teenage years were filled with rejection and verbal abuse. Depression was my unwelcome companion. I was miserable. One day when my aunt was visiting, she commented on the teenage years by enthusiastically exclaiming, “Oh! These are the best years of your life!” I remember thinking, “Really? Then my life is over.“
So at the ripe old age of 17, I was ready to call it quits. For me the issue wasn’t whether or not I should kill myself. After all, if these were the best years of my life, there was nothing to live for. Period, end of discussion.
But there was a problem: how? It had to be as quick and painless as possible. That’s where I was stuck: I wanted the pain I was experiencing to end, but I didn’t want it to hurt.
So I got in my car and went for a ride, trying to think of the perfect method of suicide.
I wandered aimlessly and ended up at a park in another town. I wanted to find a quiet spot where I could think.
As it turned out, the park wasn’t so quiet. There was some sort of fair going on. Various booths were set up around the park, and there was a small crowd milling about. I got out of my car and wandered around, disinterested.
Suddenly a teenage girl stepped into my path. She appeared younger than me, with long straight hair parted in the middle. Her hair obscurred her face as she nervously shuffled through a handful of small papers. She selected one and thrust it out toward me, her hand trembling. “Here, you look like you could use this,” she stammered. “If you have any questions, our church has a booth over there.” She gestured awkwardly and then quickly left.
I glanced down at the paper she had given me (I later found out it was called a tract)– and I started laughing. There was a cartoon illustration of an outlandish-looking bird sitting in a nest. It was gawky with a long neck and enormous crossed eyes. The title of the tract was “You’re Beautiful.”
It struck me as funny, and as my chuckles subsided I sat down on a bench to read it. It talked about “getting saved” and “being born again”– terms that were unfamiliar to me. I guess I wasn’t thinking very clearly anyway, and I didn’t understand what the tract was talking about. I wasn’t about to ask a stranger any questions, though. So I tucked the tract in my pocket and left, still grinning at the absurdity of the picture on it.
You’ve probably figured out that I never did come up with a suitable suicide plan that day. My train of thought was broken by the incident. About a year later (after the Lord had planted many other seeds like that tract), I prayed with another girl to receive salvation and became a Christian. I learned what “getting saved” and “being born again” meant.
That was many years ago (we don’t have to discuss just how many years). But I’ve often thought of that girl at the park. You see, she was an influencer. She had an impact on my life.
I wonder what she was like. Perhaps it was her church youth group who had the booth. Maybe it was her first time going out “street witnessing” (something I ended up doing a lot of as a young Jesus freak). It can be a scary experience.
I wonder if she went home that afternoon feeling like a failure. I can imagine the conversation she had with herself: “I really blew it today! I didn’t lead a single person to Christ. I didn’t pray for anyone. All I did was give one lousy tract to that sad-looking guy. I didn’t even tell him about Jesus! I’ll bet God is so disappointed with me.”
He wasn’t, of course. In fact, He used her timid effort to stop a young teen from making a tragic mistake. She did save someone’s life that day– and she never knew it.
Never A Failure
And that’s my point. We simply don’t know what kind of an impact we’re having on the people around us. That smile at a stranger might be the only smile he gets today. That wave at a neighbor might lift her loneliness just a little. That friendly greeting you give the cashier may be the only nice thing she hears all day.
Such little things– but what an influence they can have! They don’t cost a cent– but their impact may be priceless!
Don’t ever think that you’re a failure. God made you to be an influencer! “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Some day in heaven I am going to meet that girl again, and she will know that she didn’t fail. I’ll tell her “the rest of the story” (to quote Paul Harvey), and together we will glorify our Father in heaven.
Because she was an influencer.
And…you are, too. Let your light shine!
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