Image or Influence: Understanding Your Calling
Recently while attending a community church I heard a pastor preaching on a topic related to image and influence. He shared how he sometimes wonders if he is measuring up. Whenever I see vulnerability being revealed from a podium or pulpit my ears perk up. I loved where this sermon was heading.
He was wondering if because he didn’t have a large congregation, hadn’t written a book or wasn’t broadcasting live whether or not he was a success. He was giving us a glimpse into a struggle that I think many in church leadership and ministry experience. Deep down of course he knows that a large church doesn’t equate to being successful, but sometimes he doubts himself when looking around the larger Church landscape. I know he is not alone, I am sure many have wrestled with similar thoughts.
Here are some of my thoughts on this. God is not impressed with how large our ministries are or how many people we employ. God isn’t keeping a record or word count on the books we have authored, the blogs we have posted, or the image we portray when we are all lit up. God isn’t concerned about how much property we own, our circles of influence, or how many followers we have.
What God cares about is our faithfulness, our obedience and our humility. He cares if we are compassionate toward those in our congregations and work places. He cares about how we are placing the spotlight on His image versus our own. He cares about how we love those He places in our lives.
Here are 3 key questions to ponder when evaluating image and influence in our calling.
- What is God speaking to your heart about calling? This is probably one of the single most important questions to answer. Philosophers and theologians have dialogued about the meaning of life for centuries. I believe we are all placed on this earth for a purpose. If you’re not sure, ask God to show you. For the eyes of God go to and fro the whole earth looking to see whose heart is with Him to show Himself strong to those whose heart is with Him (2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV).
- What kind of influence matters most? Influence that matters most rests on God and what He is calling us to. The ultimate influence is God being reflected through our lives. When He calls us to something He will give us everything we need to accomplish His purposes. This type of influence is infectious, powerful, and far-reaching. Two good questions to ask: What am I aiming to accomplish with my influence? To whom or to what am I trying to measure up to?
- Are you on track to finishing well and having eternal influence? This is a challenging question and we need to take a regular and honest inventory of our lives in order to have lasting influence and to reflect the image of God. If you’re not in the habit of doing this regularly, here are some questions to ponder.
How is your private life? Do you regularly spend time with God, reading the Bible, praying, and listening to how God speaks to your heart? If so, what is God showing you?
How is your personal life? If you are married, how are you and your spouse doing? How are your children doing? Whatever stage of life they are in they need to know you are available to them and that your care.
How is your professional life? Are you spiritually minded on the job? God has placed you in your vocation for a purpose. Are you sensitive to how the Holy Spirit wants to use you in people’s lives while at work?
How is your public life? This certainly includes our communities, neighborhoods, social media, and other platforms. Is God being reflected in what you are doing, saying or displaying? We have been given opportunities and we should make the most of them to depict an image of God that is radiant, beautiful and welcoming.
At the end of our lives what will matter most is to hear the words, well done my good and faithful servant.