Now Influence is an interesting thing.
Perhaps we should ask the Scientists to explain it more readily for they would surely understand it better, even give an equation or formula to help us recognise its force ! But to a layman’s eye, we can only but muse and observe, and venture to write about its power.
Influence is invisible, but to the observers, its effect is at times a visible thing. Just think of the wind. You cannot see it, but you can see its effects on trees and clouds.
There is also, Influence of a different kind.
Outside one of our local suburban grocery stores they had put up a bright stand with a canopy, to sell pancakes and doughnuts. I love pancakes. On this particular autumn afternoon I decided to buy pancakes to take home to my family. I placed my order and sat down on a bench to wait. Along came a man and his daughter and bought doughnuts. “Mmmm,” he said, and I could almost hear his lips smacking as he took his second bite “they’re still warm”. Well, I am going to buy pancakes, not doughnuts ! As I went forward to collect my pancakes I heard myself say, “and I’ll take three doughnuts too”.
Such is the power of invisible Influence, seducing my taste buds
and will power.
Let me go more regional.
I have a friend who lives up-country in the heart of South Africa, where the winters get really cold, with frosty winds that cut across anything warm. She is a passionate woman and is always crocheting blankets for community projects.
This winter Ronelle and her sister Dalene have embarked on a campaign by making up community bags filled with necessities to distribute to those in service of others. They have influenced other knitting friends to help in their projects, and so their efforts have been able to extend and multiply.
The need is great. She tells me that two Bloemfontein State hospitals frequently request blankets for the premature babies that are born there. These young mommies, often unmarried women from the poor communities have nothing as they come in to deliver their babies. These crocheted blankets provide for the babies to be wrapped up in kindness, as they go out.
Then there is her outreach project to ten guys who go through garbage bins to collect anything recyclable, which they resell. All this to create a job for themselves, to alleviate their poverty, and sustain their lives with a miniscule income. They too receive a parcel of goodies from her project.
Furthermore, one of the Churches in Bloem have an outreach project to feed needy children with soup once a week. This projects needs faithful volunteers who gather, cut, slice dice and make up the soup. Ronelle has made up parcels for these eight ladies who are instrumental in feeding 1500 children every week !
Ronelle is a community observer and worker at heart. Not only does she influence and encourage others to participate in her community projects, she acknowledges those volunteers who serve others, observe those who alleviate their own poverty by standing up and doing something for themselves.
I would say that Ronelle is a strong Influence in her region.
You could say that the power of influence equals the power of one ! It takes just one person to make a difference in someone else’s world.
Chasing Influence wider, allow me to go global.
Mr Trump of the United States of America and Mr Kim Jong Un of North Korea have agreed, then disagreed, and maybe will agree again, that the summit planned to neutralise the use of the missile power-play of the North Koreans should go ahead and be resolved. What hangs in the balance is the possible aversion of a global nuclear war ! Mr Moon of China has been very influential in the persuasion of Mr Kim to not only negotiate with the Americans, but perhaps be a catalyst in freeing his very own people from the terror oppression of his former generation – for seemingly it was a reign of terror that put dread and fear in the hearts of the North Korean people, that have held them down like dead men standing !
Of course there are many working behind the scenes. A lot of influencing, a lot of negotiating for the benefit for all the countries concerned – but that is just politics, and politics is all about power and influence !
The outcome of these talks can be disastrous for a world tottering on the brink of self-destruction, but if positive influence and common sense, and good sound negotiation, can prevail the outcomes will be so much more meaningful to a world wanting to grow and to be free, in trade and harmony and peace.
But Influence is not only the prerogative of politicians and the rich, it goes way beyond our world. Look at a night sky full of sparkling stars. Gasp at the orbits of the planets ! See the influence of our moon on the ocean’s high and low tides. Remember Newton’s apple ? – and wonder at gravity. Gravity, now there is a powerful Influence of note, whose mystery still needs to be told. There is Influence everywhere !
But of all the areas of Influence, the pinnacle, to my mind, is personal Influence.
Take Jabez for instance. We do not know much about him. He may have been a warrior king or a farmer. We do not know. What we do know is that he was an honourable man, perhaps even a sensitive man, for he prayed the following prayer
…… Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
He’s story is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10 in the Bible. To this very generation many, including me, often pray the Prayer of Jabez. How is that for Influence down the ages !
Having said all that, it must be noted that the power of Influence, although invisible is very important. For that reason I must, more often than not, ask myself – who is influencing me ? And even more astutely – who am I influencing ?
We are not merely an entity of being but a sphere of influence too, whether positive or negative, good or bad. And may we have the wisdom to know, and the courage to make, big or small, an influential difference in our world.