Power and Influence

Hi everyone. Rob here. Right now the American presidential election is dominating the world’s headlines. Both sides have spent nearly one billion dollars in advertising, yet the election has been widely condemned as negative and nasty. Imagine if they had followed our grandmother’s golden rule: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” The silence would have been bliss for American TV watchers and radio listeners! Imagine also, if the media had simply boycotted election coverage, or at least election analysis. Would people make more informed decisions if there was simply less noise?

I say all of this because in order to make informed decisions about the stories of this world and this time, we need to get in touch with God’s story and how it comes to us. In Matthew 13:31-33 Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a tiny mustard seed that becomes “the largest of garden plants” and to a little bit of yeast that permeates its way through the dough. In other words, God isn’t interested in a billion dollar advertising budget! The story of God’s creation, our fall, Christ’s rescue, the defeat of Satan and his minions and our ultimate restoration is the story of all stories. It is cosmically big, bigger than history and behind everything that we see and do. Yet it is told through small actions and caring conversations carried out by ordinary people who happen to be new creations serving as ambassadors of the King of Kings.

As followers of Jesus we need to remind ourselves that even though at times we may feel insignificant and ineffective, what we say and do in the name of Christ takes root and permeates its way into our culture and world. Paul says that “we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15).” The more we allow Jesus to take hold of us the more he uses us to reveal his glory through our everyday lives and actions. Paul puts it like this; “Remember our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, ‘Light up the darkness!’ and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful (2 Corinthians 4:5-6, The Message).”

Our values will be offended and our moral principles will be ignored by politicians, government and legislation much of the time. But we belong to a greater power and we are part of a bigger story. Practically speaking, we may not change the abortion laws but in the name of Jesus we may persuade an unwed young woman to keep her baby and help support her as she does so. We may oppose gay marriage but in the name of Jesus we may embrace our gay neighbour as they deal with their relationship break-up or a death in the family. We may advocate for personal responsibility when it comes to finances but we give generously to organisations that feed the hungry and house the homeless.

These may not be the issues that matter to you, but my point is that we seek to live in the name of Jesus, walk with Jesus, love Jesus and reflect Jesus in what we do, say and think. We allow our new hearts to flow through into our minds and actions. We then become mustard seeds of the kingdom of God; yeast for the kingdom of God; an aroma of Christ to the world. We have influence that no politician can match because it’s not us; it’s Jesus! As the candidates seek 4 years of influence, we can claim an eternity of influence. It may well be unseen, unrecognised and ignored, but it will be very real. Jesus doesn’t ask us for money; he asks for our lives so that he can live through us. Vote thoughtfully and prayerfully, but just know that it’s actually you who makes the difference that really matters.

Blessings.

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