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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Becoming a Woman of Influence

By Carol Kent
Feb. 27, 2011

Judy Hampton felt conspicuous on her first evening of attending choir practice at a new church. She had made her way to a vacant seat in the second row when she was immediately summoned by a woman with a huge smile who said, “Please, come and sit by me.” As Judy slipped into the seat, Tutty introduced herself and said, “Tell me how you came to this church, and tell me all about you and your family.”

A few days after choir practice, Tutty invited Judy to her home. Upon arriving, Judy discovered she was the honored guest. Tutty had invited several of her friends, including her sister, Mary Ann, to this event for the purpose of introducing them to Judy. From that day on, Tutty and Mary Ann began teaching Judy from their lives.

Tutty is in heaven now, but Judy clearly remembers the influence these two women had on her life.

“I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and the Christian life was new to me. I needed mature women to teach, model and disciple me, but never in my wildest dreams did I know it could be so much fun! Both Mary Ann and Tutty modeled the virtues of being a Christian woman. They invited me into their lives. They taught me about hospitality. I saw firsthand how they embraced their roles as wives and mothers. They gave of their time and resources. They imparted the truths from the Bible by living them in front of me (not by preaching) and put up with my endless stream of questions and desperate phone calls seeking answers. Their contagious love for Christ inspired me to seek Him every day.”

If we waited for formal teaching moments to make a difference in the lives of others, most of us would miss the opportunities we have to “be Jesus” to the people we have the privilege of influencing. Whether they realized it or not, these two dear women had impacted Judy’s life through the principle of walking and talking.

Most of us feel inadequate and a bit intimidated when we realize God might be able to use us to influence others positively through the way we live out our faith. Jesus gave us some specific teaching on the importance of our walk and our talk. The following are some of the main points He makes in the Sermon on the Mount.

Be “salt-seasoning”
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage” (Matthew 5:12, The Message).

Salt enhances flavor and also acts as a preservative. We become salt through bringing the essence of Jesus into everyday conversation. We influence others by being Christ to them. When we walk and talk what Scripture teaches, we will be salt in this world.

Being salt-seasoning does not mean preaching at people or brow-beating them with our list of what’s right and wrong. It doesn’t mean carrying a 10-pound Bible on top of our gro­cery cart or being obnoxious with the verbalization of our faith. It does mean living out the task God gave us to do today the way a Christ-follower should.

Go public with your faith
Jesus said, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine!” (Matthew 5:14-16).

As Christian women, we should be a light to people within our own sphere of influence. Cathy Gallagher, a former marketing manager for a medium-sized company, wrote to tell me about a woman who worked as a receptionist in her office. She described Dawn Patterson as a wife and mother of four sons and two stepsons whose commitment to Christ shows in her eyes, her words and her actions. Every morning Dawn sends what she calls “The E-Mail Daily Bread” to fellow Christian employees who need spiritual encouragement. Cathy says:

“She sends it quietly — no fanfare — and she expects nothing back from any of us who receive it. I love knowing that my serving of ‘Daily Bread’ will be waiting for me to read and absorb any time of the day I need a spiritual boost.”

As Jesus-followers, we need to take every opportunity to demonstrate our faith. Our mandate is to walk and talk like Christians, being a visible beacon of light in a world of darkness.

Let people “hang out” with you
Jesus taught: “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Barb McPhail was one of those new Christians who needed that kind of help. Within a few short months God replaced her former party friends with the love and support of a 33-year-old wife and mother who loved God. Barb says, “From the first moment I met Lee, it was as if God knit our hearts together.”

Lee not only let Barb “hang out” with her, she instructed her in biblical truth and in matters of practical Christian living. Barb describes their relationship in the following way:

“Lee has been my mother, sister, best friend, prayer partner and adviser. Like an empty sponge, I eagerly soaked up all the love and insight about God’s kingdom she had to offer. She never professed to have all the answers, but she was quick to say, ‘Let’s pray.’ To this day, whenever I hear those words, I’m reminded that God filled the desire of my heart for a friend and mentor through Lee.”

When we allow a younger woman to spend time with us daily (not just during special appointments, Bible studies and lunch dates), we give her a chance to see how a Christian should live her life.

By being generous with our lives, our homes, and our background knowledge of God and His Word, we provide the soil in which young Christian women can become mature Christ-followers who will also have an impact on others.


“Walk your talk” and “talk your walk”

Matthew 5:48 says: “Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Jesus was saying, “walk your talk” and “talk your walk.” If you are a believer, live for Christ in every aspect of your life, being careful to bless others in the way God has blessed you.

Becoming a woman of influence is simply a matter of loving Jesus and obeying His teachings on how we “walk” and “talk” every day of our lives. Let’s live in such a way that our “walk” and our “talk” enable us to be women of influence. Let’s initiate relationships that will give hope, help and encouragement to others. Let’s be infectious. Let’s be “on purpose” Christian women who realize every encounter we have has the potential of becoming an impact moment for the person who crosses our path today.


Excerpted from Becoming a Woman of Influence: Making a Lasting Impact on Others by Carol Kent (NavPress Publishers, 1999, 2006). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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