The Subtlety of Influence

Start where you are. Use what you’ve got. Do what you can.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.” Colossians 4:6 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the Subtlety of Influence.”

Influence is best when its source is scarcely noticed yet its effect is significant. Jesus compared salt and light with influence. Salt is in almost every prepared food or snack that you eat, though you seldom notice its presence. Yet without salt, food can be bland, even unappetizing. But add too much salt and the taste of food is changed and significantly overshadowed. In its proper measure and proportion, the presence of salt is hardly noticed. However, when it’s lacking you detect its absence. Consider your everyday influence. Like salt, a person’s beneficial contribution to others’ daily lives may not be noticed until it is no longer being made.

Influence is subtle. Influence is allowed, not imposed. Influence is best recognized in retrospect, yours and others. Typically, you won’t know the difference you’ve made until later, if ever. Others may not realize the difference you made until they notice your absence. When you purpose to contribute beneficially, you make a difference in others’ lives, as well as your own. However small your contribution may seem, or unnoticed it may be, contribute positively and deliberately without need for recognition or applause. If you make a difference in this world, it won’t be accidentally.

Life is most meaningful and satisfying when you decide to live with purpose and deliberate intent. You are meant to make a difference. What you contribute – in your community, at your job, in your school, home, family, or friendships – has the power to help others and make others’ lives better, all the while fulfilling your own. Consider how that works. Stop working with the motive that others will notice your contribution and begin noticing and complimenting theirs.

Taking people for granted comes a little too naturally. Many of those same people improve your life every day. A kind word to encourage can cheer someone on their way; a helping hand in a small or large task can make someone’s life better for the moment; a friend to share another’s journey is a welcome companion along the way. While you wait for your chance to make a big difference, you might be missing the very opportunities that let you make a difference now and will provide you even greater opportunities later.

Start where you are. Use what you’ve got. Do what you can. Then you will make a difference. God’s Word provides good advice. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.” Colossians 4:5 NIV. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 NIV. You were created, called, and gifted to contribute what is unique to your abilities, experience, personality, and opportunities. Salt in isolation does not make a difference, but when allowed to interact, salt enhances what is already there and supplies what is lacking.

Jesus taught that you and I, as His followers, are supposed to be seed, salt, light, and leaven. Common to all of those is the potential of making a profound improvement. As such, you can make the best contribution and the biggest difference when you are willing to be where you are most needed, doing what you were best designed by God to do, with or without anyone else’s notice except His.

Today I pray for you to contribute what you are and what you have to others.

Christian Communications 2018

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