“Solomon’s repentance was sincere; but the harm that his example of evil-doing had wrought could not be undone…“His influence for good was greatly weakened. …he could never hope entirely to destroy the baleful influence of his wrong deeds…“Among the many lessons taught by Solomon’s life, none is more strongly emphasized than the power of influence for good or for ill. However contracted may be our sphere, we still exert an influence for weal or woe. Beyond our knowledge or control, it tells upon others in blessing or cursing…“That our influence should be a savor of death unto death is a earful thought, yet it is possible. One soul misled, forfeiting eternal bliss—who can estimate the loss! And yet, one rash act, one thoughtless word, on our part may exert so deep an influence on the life of another that it will prove the ruin of his soul.” Prophets and Kings,pp84,85
Anyway, something frightening happened over the next three years; we became absolutely best friend, and she was baptized into the Adventist church. I say frightening because when we talked about what had led her to be interested in learning more, she explained that it was because she had watched me over the years and had seen something there that she wanted in her own life. WHOA!!! I started rewinding those years to find out what I had done/not done that would have shown anything worth wanting and what I saw was not what I would describe as good. I hadn’t witnessed to her; I hadn’t even invited her to church. I think the only time we ever discussed anything even remotely Biblical was to argue about evolution vs. creation. And yet, she did come to church. Amen!
Now I know that the Holy Spirit is in charge of these things (Praise the Lord), and that my friend just thought she was seeing me and was really being led by the Holy Spirit.
But that sense of responsibility has never left me. I’m not saying that I always exert the best, or even the right, influence, but when I remember that experience, I am awed at the power of one person watching another person. I’m also terrified. What a huge responsibility!
Think about the week that just ended. What kind of influence have you been? What kind of influence have I been? Can I be better this coming week? What do I need to do differently? God is longing for us to ask exactly those kinds of questions, because He has so much He wants to give us.
“He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into the work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given you.” E.G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 146