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Humble Influence

Humble Influence
As we read through the gospels of Jesus, there is no doubt that Jesus calls us to be people who give ourselves to make significant and eternal differences in the world. We are to influence lives, families, communities, and cities as we seek to bring redemption and transformation to this world in the name of, and for the glory of, the Lord Jesus Christ.

But one of the confusions that have gripped many within our understanding of influence is how we get it. The simple math looks something like this, Power=Influence. But to this equation, Jesus sternly responds, "That's exactly how it works in the world, but not at all how it works within my Kingdom" (Matt 20:26, my paraphrase). Jesus continues that his influence equation looks like this, servant hood= influence.

This point was powerfully imprinted on me recently when I had the humbling opportunity to meet with the new Episcopal Bishop in Central Florida, Greg Brewer. As we met together, I sought to use the opportunity to not only make a new friend but to seek to expand my leadership understanding and capacity. I asked Bishop Brewer what the greatest challenge that he perceived he would face during his term would be. In a profound moment that I suspect will long leave an imprint on my heart, he symbolically rose and showed me within his office several items that have been bestowed upon him by the Church. His Bishops ring, the Bishops staff, and Miter (the large hat worn on at a Bishop's consecration), etc. He explained to me that these were all symbols of power given to him by the Church. Slowly, he then walked over to his bookshelf, where he picked up a bronze figurine of Jesus kneeling and washing the disciple's feet. He shared with me that these symbols are at the crux of the challenge he expects to face as a leader. Will he leverage influence through his powerful position or his servant hood? With great humility and great commitment, Bishop Brewer wants to model the servant leadership of Jesus.
As you look at your life, there are probably many symbols of how you are going to gain the influence that Jesus commands you to extend within the world. Perhaps some of the power symbols are identified in the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the language you use, or the activities that you are associated with. But I hope, and I pray that in your life there are many symbols of a servant heart. Symbols of a servant look like the small acts of love you do when no one is looking, the whispers of encouragement that you offer, and a generous heart that splashes onto others.

Jesus encourages us to have a great influence for his kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20) but the challenge for us to not to develop that influence by power, but by being the servants.
How are you doing with this? How will you be influential in your service?

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