I was just thinking about days gone by. In particular, I was thinking about people who have been an influence in my life. There are three men who especially were powerful influences — my dad, Jesse Mitchell; my pastor, Paul Bearfield; and my coach, Dick Hays. What is remarkable is that each influenced me in his own unique way due to his own particular relationship with me.
Who Influenced You?
As you think about your answer, I remind you that there are positive influences and certainly there are those that are negative. But think about those that are positive, character building, spiritually strengthening influences.
Was it a certain schoolteacher who impacted your life? Was it a pastor, or maybe a pastor’s wife who introduced you to Christ and instructed you in your Christian walk? For many, I imagine it would be a parent or parents.
The Impact of Parental Influence
Our influences can either make us or break us. Such can be true of parents. Sadly, in this journey called life, there are sometimes very poor parents. I am not speaking about financially lacking, but spiritually-bankrupt, morally-inept parents. While children don’t choose their parents, they still have to face life in the families into which they were born. The relationship and the influence of bad parents can corrupt the child. That kind of influence has long lasting effects.
Paul wrote, “Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character” (I Cor. 15:33 NIV). How sad it is when that company is that of parents who negatively influence their children.
Be a Positive Influence
My wife and I were both blessed with good parents. Their influences were good, moral, spiritual and very positive.
If you are in the business world, look around. There may be a coworker who needs your kindness, concern and spiritual influence. If you are a teacher or coach, pay attention to your students or athletes. They all need your influence, but maybe there is that one who needs it more.
If you are a parent, pay close attention to your children. No matter how tired or stressed you may be, your children need you… and your positive influence. Notice I have used the word “need.” As I have said so often, ministry is meeting needs. Be a minister in your own home!
Those Men are Gone, but Their Influence Remains
My dad, my pastor and my coach have each received his heavenly promotion. Yet, what they taught me — even if I didn’t recognize it at the time — still remains a powerful influence on my life decades later. That will be true of each of us.
Be an Influence that Glorifies Christ
“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).