Influence

by Paula Harrington
Two months ago our oldest child enlisted in the Marines. As parents we are a bit apprehensive. He shouldn’t be old enough to make such big decisions. Yet, we are extremely proud and fully support him as he begins this next chapter of his life.
Recently we were able to have dinner with several members of the military and given the chance to have a Q&A session with a drill sergeant. As he answered several questions from the many parents and spouses in the room, one stood out.
A mother in the back of the room asked this proud, tough as nails, drill sergeant how the Marines expected to turn her average teenage boy into a Marine. The drill sergeant, without missing a beat, replied, “Through influence, Ma’am.”
John 4 offers a wonderful lesson on influence. It was beside Jacob’s well in the town of Sychar where the perfect Son of God took a moment to speak with an imperfect woman of Samaria. Their meeting was unaccustomed at the time.
Jews did not speak to Samaritans and Jewish men did not speak to any woman in public. However, Jesus wasn’t a conformist. His life was to be given for all people and he knew that this woman had great worth. He engaged her in conversation ranging from religion to personal matters, heated topics that many avoid.
Yet Jesus wasted no time in showing his interest in a woman who, in turn, influenced many in her community.
Influence is powerful. Whether we’re on Paris Island or living a relatively normal Christian life, we are being influenced in one way or another. However, a Christian’s greatest influence can be found beside Jacob’s well in John 4:6. Will you let him change your life?
Let the love of Christ influence you and remember you have the ability to change someone’s life today. Make it count.

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