You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. Matthew 5:13 NLT
“You got me where I am now.”
Cecil* came to our school from a school system where grammar wasn’t taught, and my job was to instruct him. Fortunately, he eagerly pursued what he didn’t know. His grandmother kept him primed even when he balked by having me tutor him.
After one year, Cecil surpassed his classmates in grammatical knowledge. He knew everything I asked him in class. He still missed an assignment here and there, but not because he didn’t know the material.
I left the school after four years, but returned one year later. Cecil had a habit of visiting the middle school hall even after he had entered high school. When I returned, I noticed his pattern was the same. My first day back, Cecil stopped by to say hello. Several days later, he stopped in again.
“What grade are you in now?” I asked.
“The eleventh,” he answered.
“You’re almost finished,” I commented.
And that’s when he made the remark I’ll never forget. Sure, his grandmother had told me many times how much he admired me and how much he appreciated my help. But he’d never told me . . . until now. Words wouldn’t come. I finally said, “Well, I’m glad I could have a part in making you who you are.”
Jesus said His followers were the salt of the earth. Not that He wanted us to influence or that we might or should influence. We do influence. The question is how good of a job I’m doing at influencing. After all, salt can kill just as easily as it can enhance and retard—perhaps easier. And once it kills, bringing back to life what it destroys is difficult.
Healthy influence must be purposeful. Influence happens whether I want it to or not. Just living and being around others means I influence them. But the nature of that influence, I determine. If I want it to enhance the good and retard the evil, I have to make concerted efforts, planning out my strategy.
I was lucky this time. I discovered the effect of my influence. We’re not always that fortunate. Sometimes we never know the difference we’ve made in a person’s life. Functioning as salt each day, however, assures we’ll influence someone who just might get to a different place in life because of us.
Never underestimate the power of your influence.
Tweetable: How are you influencing others?
Prayer: Father, remind us that we continually influence others every day.