“For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” – Romans 14:7-8
Precious, precious jewels in the Bible like the verses written above are often glossed over by the majority of church attenders and Bible readers.
We weren’t created by some big explosion in the sky; we were designed by the Almighty God. Our births and deaths do not go unnoticed; our Creator designed us for a purpose. The Bible says that same God notices every sparrow that falls. If our Father notices when a bird’s heart stops beating, you better believe He notices what goes on in the lives of the men and women He created in His image.
As I ponder this verse, I can’t help but to reflect on the many individuals who have influenced my life. Some have encouraged me to do right by their good examples while from the mistakes and failures of others I have learned what behaviors I never want to engage in.
I’m going to briefly recollect some of those many influences and share them with you now:
- My father taught me the value of having a good work ethic. He always made sure all of my family’s needs were met.
- My mother taught me the importance of being in subjection to those who had the rule over me. She always submitted herself to my father.
- My grandmother showed me the importance of charity. When she saw any of her relatives struggling financially, she was always there to pitch in however she could.
- Several of my peers in school got involved in drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, using marijuana, and premarital sexual relations. Seeing the negative impacts it had on their lives encouraged me to avoid that lifestyle no matter what the cost.
- Someone whom I thought was my friend jumped to a conclusion and assumed I had intentionally done something to offend her and stopped speaking to me altogether. Our friendship came to an abrupt end. That taught me to always give people an opportunity to explain themselves and to be careful to not judge a book by its cover.
- My current pastor has taught me to look for the good in everyone. I have seen him get teary-eyed many times after meeting people for the first time and hearing their stories.
- Someone in my life called me once and left a voicemail saying, “I’m sorry to hear about the loss in your family,” before anyone had been able to get in touch with me to let me know a close relative had passed away unexpectedly. This taught me to always use discretion.
- A missionary I knew practiced asking himself, “Where was I wrong in this situation?” every time he was at odds with someone. That taught me to not always assume the other person is at fault. Even if they are, there is probably something I could have done to handle the situation better. Something that perhaps I need to apologize for.
- Various brothers in Christ have helped me develop some general maintenance abilities.
- Last, and certainly not least, my wife has taught me some fashion sense. Who would have ever guessed that a guy’s socks have to match? Or that he shouldn’t wear a striped tie with a checkered shirt?
All of these individuals, and many more, have contributed to who I am today. None of us have lives that aren’t meaningful. It makes me wonder how I have influenced others. What good habits have I taught others by my example? What things have I fouled up on so badly that others would say,
“I will never do such and such because I saw what happened when Brother Thompson did it.”
I would encourage you to ask yourself the same questions. Are you living your life in such a manner that will first and foremost please the God who created you? Secondly, how is your life influencing others? For the good, the bad, or the ugly? I have some great news for you. If you’re seeing some shortcomings in your life, I see them in mine too; you’re not alone. Let’s do something about those shortcomings. Let’s strive to be inspirational to others.