Places of Influence

Places of Influence

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'” -Matthew 25:21

“Argh! Church people suck!” said my fellow server one Sunday afternoon.

We all looked at him as he took the tract and the tip out of the check holder.

“Two dollars and a tract for a party of eight. Do you really think I want to know more about your religion if you don’t even tip?”

I was saddened. I said immediately, “Jake, (not his real name) I’m so sorry – not all Christians are like that. In fact, a true Christian is quite the opposite.”

But it was no use. There was no way I could battle the obvious as he walked away in frustration. What made it worse was that my co-server was gay. I’m sure their stares of disapproval only made things more disappointing.

There is no doubt that we have a brand problem in the Christian faith. A brand is the perceived identity of something, whether it be a product or service, an organization or even a group of people. It amazes me to think that this is where some of us are in the body of Christ today. I’m sure the well-meaning folks at his table had the best of intentions – saving the soul is obviously more important than money – but from my friend’s perspective the $2 tip certainly didn’t help him think so.

We talk about being influential in culture so that Jesus’ life and light, his healing and his love for others can shine through us – but what about right here, right now? Our worship director has said – “Do your best with what you’ve got in your hands now!” Every encounter we have with others is “brand management.” Are we who we say we are, especially when no one “important” is watching? It’s not about being perfect or doing it for the sake of religion- it’s about the intention to really think about people and love them wherever we go, like Jesus did.

In Matthew 23:11, it says, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”  How are you able to serve others today? Only when we’re been faithful with our influence can God entrust us with more.

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