Influential People
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Influential People

Growing up in a small town was quite beneficial. The most influential people in my life weren't impressive people in the world's eyes, but they were in mine. Teachers and neighbors, some who were sweet elderly people, thought kids were not a bother, but a blessing. I liked visiting a couple of little old ladies in the town. One used to place colorful beads in a mold baking them in the oven to make fun holiday decorations. We would talk as we drank hot cocoa together. Another was a sweet little old lady who loved having company. She showed me pictures of her family in her neatly kept house. She always had wonderful stories to tell about them. A few of the kids at school thought I was nuts for spending time with old people when I could be doing more interesting things.

In small towns, how you live makes a difference because your reputation, if badly made,it was extremely difficult to turn around for good. Everyone knew everything about every one. If you did well, your reputation was a shining example to everyone around you. If you lived badly, your reputation condemned you for the rest of your days. In our global society, although it will take longer, I would say that one's reputation once badly tarnished is nearly impossible to redeem.  Not even repentance and confession will help. In the grand scheme of life, it's not about how you look, but how you live that make a difference.

 King David, the Apostle Paul, Jesus, Peter are all shining examples of people who didn't gain attention for their appearances. Their lives still influence people today. King David was a shepherd boy, the youngest boy in his family. When God told Samuel to anoint one of Jesse's sons as king of Israel, David was out in a field tending sheep. As each one passed by, God told Samuel, "No."until no one was left. So he asked if there anymore. Upon discovering there was one, but Jesse didn't think Samuel would want to bother with him. Samuel asked for David to be brought to him. When David stood before Samuel, God said, "This is the one." King David was a mighty leader of Israel whose family line lead to Jesus, the Messiah, the King of Kings. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7

The Apostle Paul was not impressive in appearance or speech. He was a very well- educated man who studied under the renowned Gamaliel as a young Pharisee (Acts 22:3). He was a bad boy, turned good. But it took a while for people to trust the change in his life. In Acts 10-11, Jesus' disciples were told by God to accept him as he had converted from Judaism to Christianity. They had to protect him for a while (Acts 9:23-25). The very treatment a bad person would normally receive, he received as he preached about Jesus (2 Timothy 4:9-16). He died a martyr's death. He wrote and sometimes dictated to a scribe the books of Romans through Philemon. Paul's ministry influences people all over the world today.

Jesus was the "son of a carpenter" (John 46:1-3) from some little "going nowhere" town of Nazareth (John 1:46). He also wasn't impressive in appearance because God didn't want anyone attracted to Him due to His appearance (Isaiah 53:2) He was rejected in His hometown early in His ministry (Luke 4:16-30) He died the death of a criminal, but rose again. Jesus is the Messiah the Jews were looking for and the Savior of many through the generations (John 1:41, 4:39; Acts 4:31 among many more). He is seated at the right hand of God (Acts 2:32-33). The most influential person in history is Jesus, a no-body in many eyes, a Somebody in God's eyes and those of many saints.

Countless others in the Bible were seemingly nobodies. Several were "bad" in people's eyes, but God made them somebodies. Their influence spans across centuries. Who has influenced you in your faith and life? Take heart, God can take your life as an example, making it influential for His Kingdom. Who is watching you? Who do you influence today? In the grand scheme of life, it's not about how you look, but how you live that make a difference.

May God bless you!

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