The British tabloid News of the World recently exposed Sarah Ferguson accepting a bribe in return for trade influence with her former husband. Their “investigative journalism” or entrapment did not ingratiate the former royal family member to the common man. Perhaps your dinnertime conversation included something like this: “that’s what you have to expect from people with a lot of influence” or “you’ll do anything for money.”
King David used his influence to send an innocent and brave warrior to his death. More often than not, kings in the Divided Kingdom Period used their influence to drive their country to ruin. The New Testament provides more examples of this kind of sin. Why do you think Zaccheaus had to return so much money? Influence is trust, not a commodity. The influence that God has given to you could be very small. You could be the older sibling with brothers and sisters looking up to you as a role model. You could be crew manager of a McDonald’s shift or an executive overseeing hundreds of employees and millions of dollars. We all need to guard against abusing our own God-given influence.
Acknowledge God’s role in your influence. King Nebuchadnezzar, a man who held the power of life and death in his hand, failed to acknowledge the Creator and he was reduced to a debilitating form of insanity. If God has given you a position of influence, remember that he gave it to you.
Remember that people are watching. The Scriptures admonish us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. I’ve always thought that the serpent and the dove are strange bedfellows. Christians with influence are prime targets for investigative journalism. We’ve had our fair share of leaders professing to have Christian values (or to be Christian) only to be found to be living a duplicitous life.
You can’t please everyone. The Scriptures give us Joseph and Daniel as two examples of God-honouring men with great influence. Both men held high positions in pagan kingdoms. Their faithful service was attacked. Not because of demonstrable personal failure but by the actions of salacious and scheming individuals. Let God be your defence.