i’m an expert when it comes to giving someone advice on the value of kingdom influence. i tell them not to worry about budgets or numbers or results…just be obedient and let god worry about the outcome. i warn them that we have too many self-absorbed, risk-averse church leaders.
i then fold my arms smugly. as if i know what i’m talking about.
this morning, i was feeling sorry for myself again. even though it’s my day off, i popped in to the office for a moment and happened to encounter a young lady who used to attend our youth group. it’s been years since she’s been involved at our fellowship, but now has a five-week old baby and is married to a difficult man. i sensed she just needed someone to listen to her, so i spent an hour or so with her (i put off mowing my lawn…not like it was a great sacrifice). i confess, though, i was thinking to myself, “what a waste of time. she has proven that she won’t follow my advice and the only reason she is here is because she’s miserable. she made her bed.” and has she now joined the long line of ex-church members who need me, and expect me to be there when they call?
but what about all that “kingdom influence” stuff? am i choosing (however inadvertently) to invest only where i expect results?
then i read ben arment’s blog. it’s short, so let me share it with you in its entirety:
It’s impossible to help someone through mere inquiry.
It’s a nice gesture… makes us look good… lets us off the hook. But the truth is, we know what could really help others. We’re fully aware of the action. We just don’t want to do it.
We think influence is expendable, limited in supply; and we don’t want to waste it on the wrong opportunity. So we hoard it. We might need it for ourselves, after all.
As leaders with a certain level of influence, we can either spend it on ourselves and perpetuate the personal rewards of that influence… or we can spend it in those who don’t have it.
The ironic thing is – we grow in influence by helping others. It’s the way of the influence economy.
okay, i’m officially convicted. i am reminded of my own advice that jesus is trustworthy and if i will simply be obedient, he will make sure i am effective and productive. to that end, i want to become trustworthy. i want to be the kind of man that will receive any and all those the lord sends my way. in his name. as he would.
and have the guts to leave the results to him.