Everyone is an influencer. We have influence by what we do or don’t do, by what we say or don’t say, and most certainly as Christians, indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, we should have spiritual influence always.
But as is the case with many things in our present culture, some words now denote different meanings and ideas than what has been understood heretofore.
The word influencer is a good example of this. The social media landscape is full of “influencers”. In the world of marketing an influencer is defined as, “Someone in your niche or industry with sway over your target audience, possessing the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others.”
However, the word influencer now, in the realm of social media, might also define someone, anyone who for whatever reason can get large numbers of people to pay attention to them.
There are people and/or entities that are actually willing to offer significant and lucrative contracts to individuals for no other reason than the fact that lots of people follow them on social media.
Even though these influencers may have no skills, talents, or ideas that are of any intellectual, cultural, or spiritual value to society in general; just the fact that they can (for whatever reason) draw a crowd, makes them valuable to someone seeking to exploit the influencer’s “drawing power” for their own personal gain. Crazy? Yes, but this is the world in which we now live.
In this letter, however, I want to challenge you with the idea that God has uniquely positioned you; and in your sphere of influence, you are the most qualified, competent person to influence someone for Christ.
Some years ago I recorded a song entitled, Chain of Grace. One lyric reads as follows:
Oh to be a link in this line of faith
To help steer somebody to see His face
Then watch them turn around
And do the same thing
In this chain of grace
(Billy Simon, Jeff Silvey Chain of Grace/Dallas Holm 1992)
Have you ever heard of Mordecai Ham? Very possibly you have because he’s the evangelist who in 1934, while preaching in an extended evangelistic campaign in Charlotte, NC, offered an invitation to a crowd to repent of their sin, come forward and receive Christ as their savior. Among those who stepped out of the crowd that night was a young sixteen-year-old boy who had previously wanted nothing to do with ministers of this sort. That young man was gloriously saved and went on to be a great evangelist himself; some would say, “The greatest.” The young man’s name was Billy Graham. That is such a wonderful story, is it not? I think however what’s truly wonderful is the “chain of grace” that precedes that night in Charlotte so many years ago.
It all started with a Sunday School teacher….
A Sunday School teacher named Edward Kimball won a shoe store clerk to Jesus – his name was D.L. Moody.
D.L. Moody traveled to England and awakened the heart of a young pastor – F.B. Meyer.
F.B. Meyer became one of the great Bible expositors, came to the U.S.A. and preached on college campuses, and was used to convert a student to Christ – Wilbur Chapman.
Wilbur Chapman attended one of Moody’s meetings in Chicago and became D.L. Moody’s co-worker.
Wilbur Chapman employed an ex-baseball player as his assistant – Billy Sunday.
Billy Sunday became a great evangelist and preached in Charlotte, NC, at a meeting organized by the Billy Sunday Layman’s Evangelistic Club (renamed Christian Business Men’s Committee or CBMC).
CBMC invited an evangelist to Charlotte, his name was Mordecai Ham.
Mordecai Ham preached in the tent meeting where Billy Graham was saved.
Billy Graham has proclaimed the Gospel to millions across the globe, and many lives have been changed forever. Perhaps you are one of them. All because a Sunday School teacher took the time to talk to a co-worker about Jesus.
On the 17th of October in 1965, a young pastor took the time to share his concern for the soul of a teenager in his congregation, who was heading down the wrong path with his life and his music.
As a result of the genuine concern of this pastor (and the conviction of the Holy Spirit), the teenager committed his life to Christ and also made a commitment to use his musical abilities only for the Lord from that day forward.
This new, young Christian singer began to go out many a weekend and sing of his newfound life in Christ. He would also share his testimony of God’s saving grace in any and every setting, whether in jails or rest homes, street corners, or little churches.
One Sunday morning, Pastor Dick (as we all called him) approached me (yes, I was that teenager) and said, “Dallas, may I give you some loving advice? Right now, at this point in your life, let me encourage you to stay home here in church on Sundays. Let me disciple you and build a foundation of the Word of God beneath your life and your ministry. You’ll have all your life to minister; you’ll have only this one chance to prepare.”
I look back now and realize that was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever received! Because of his influence in my life, I became a Christian. Because of his Godly advice, I have remained committed to His call, committed to the sound presentation of the gospel, and consequently have had the privilege of touching literally millions of souls through recordings, radio, television, concerts, books, social media, and the list goes on. All this because one man cared and took the time to influence another for Christ.
We often don’t recognize where God has uniquely positioned us in someone’s life. We don’t consider ourselves as influential and thereby miss opportunities to influence others for Christ and His Kingdom. There are so many, even Christians, who don’t think that anything of great significance will come from their lives.
Let’s consider Ruth and her story found in the Old Testament. The story is a wonderful story of love, integrity, promise, and hope. Perhaps the most telling and significant verse in the entire story is the last one. “And to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.” (Ruth 4:22)
What’s the significance of that you may ask? Think of it. This young girl from Moab, upon the death of her husband, decides to honor her mother-in-law, Naomi, and go to be with her people. Thus, she meets and marries Boaz, with whom she has a child…Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse, who became the father of David. David, of whom alone God said, “A man after my own heart.”
But wait, there’s more! Trace down through the lineage of David all the way to the Messiah, Son of God, born in a manger in Bethlehem. A young Moabite girl, surely not thought of as an “influencer” by herself or any other, falls directly inline in the genealogical records as one linked in the “chain of grace” forever to our Lord and Savior.
You, oh Christian, are a link in that same chain of grace. You, dear saint, have been strategically placed by the hand of a sovereign God. You’ve been saved by His grace, built up in the knowledge of His Word, and indwelt by His own Holy Spirit. For the sake of the gospel, for that name above all names, for the blood of the martyrs and for the King and His kingdom…. Are You an Influencer?