You, Ezra, using your God's wisdom–the Teachings you hold in your hands–will appoint judges and administrators for all the people who know your God's Teachings and live in the province west of the Euphrates River. In addition, you will teach anyone who doesn't know the Teachings. [words of King Artaxerxes in Ezra 7:25 GWT]
Ezra, the Jewish scribe and priest, was an important leader of the exiles returning from Babylon, back to what had been their homeland. In Ezra 7:25, it's clear he had tremendous influence as a leader. What influence has God given you? Who are the people you come into contact with during a day or week? Don't look past the people you work with, or who live nearby, or those you cross paths with at the store or post office.
Everybody's watching everyone else, at least it seems that way. Consider how voyeuristic our society has become with what seems like endless reality shows, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iReporting of news, and so on. Whether we like it or not, much of what used to be private information is now pretty public, at least for a price. When faced with the online questions, "What's on your mind?" or "What's happening?"– I often think, who cares? But apparently there's a lot of people who do care.
The other morning, my wife and I went to the beach near our home fairly early in the morning, to beat the heat and the summer crowds. Walking across the boardwalk to the beach, we passed by a local surfer checking out the waves. I could see it wasn't a great surfing day, but he seemed quite intent checking on the conditions of the surf and beach. It was a beautiful, calm day. A great day for sitting on the beach and reading a good book.
Not long after setting up our beach chairs, I noticed this same surfer with a group of school-aged children, a family, and another local surfer. They were all carrying or dragging surfboards down to the beach. It turns out he was a surf instructor, and had a partner to help him.
I became intrigued with these two young men as I saw how they interacted with their students. One was more talkative than the other, but they were both encouraging and apt instructors. "OK, this wave is just for you... keep paddling, you'll get it... alright, way to go!" I watched how patient and courteous they were. All their students stood up and rode a wave before the instruction was over.
They had influence and they were using it well, for they also seemed to know most everyone passing by on kayaks, boats, and paddleboards. They would greet people by name, warmly and genuinely. I was impressed, even inspired, these men had influence that extended beyond the few people they were instructing.
Think about it–their influence reached beyond their students to others passing by, me watching them, and to this blog. Who influences you and how does it affect you? Are you even aware of what influences your life? Who do you influence and what affect does it have in their life–good or bad?
You and I have much more influence than we are probably aware of, but someone is watching, someone is taking note of how and what we say and do things. You and I, we have influence, let's use it wisely–no matter what our role in this life.