Summary: Can others see our progress in Christ?
How long is your shadow?
As campers we have a lot in common, don’t we?? So we can talk to each other about our camping experiences .We are comfortable in the company of other campers.
As followers of Christ we also have a lot in common. But for some reason or another our conversations don’t lead us to talk about our Christian experiences.
The shadow that I am talking about is our influence on other people. When we walk outside, we can’t control our shadow anymore than we can stop having a shadow while we are in the sun. In the same way we have little control over our influence of those we come in contact with. In the book of Acts chapter 5:15, we read that when Simon Peter walked though the streets of Jerusalem, people tried to get in touch with his shadow. We “ALL” exert a shadow of influence everywhere we go, either a good one or a bad one.
Our influence, for the most part, is unconscious. We are not very conscious of our shadow while we are walking down the street. We hardly even think about the influence that we might have on others, but guess what? It’s there all the time. We think we can influence people by our performance or our intention, but in reality, we exert the most influence when our guard is down. We don’t even think about it and for the most part don’t even care about it. Why, because the world teaches us to be ourselves, to do our own thing, it won’t affect anyone else, but it does, and we need to be more aware of how much our influence does affect those that dare to get close to us.
While our kids are growing up, we sit them down and have a heart to heart talk with them because we want to influence their lives. But where is our real influence with our children? What really speaks to our children and to everyone where our shadow of influence falls is not our speech face to face, but it’s our casual conversation and actions when we are not even thinking about it. My parents used to say to me,” Do as I say, not as I do.” But their real influence came through their actions, not their speech. In Matt.5: 13, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Salt is not noticed very much, but it does make a difference doesn’t it? Just have a Doctor take it away and you will, for a while, notice a difference in the taste of your food. In the same way our influence is like that.
Our influence is immortal. Like the ripples that flow from a pebble we throw into a pond, our influence goes far beyond our ability to see. We may touch one life, and that person will touch another and then that life will touch another and it just keeps going. Even to the point when we pass on to our influence doesn’t stop. What kind of memory will people have of you when you have gone to be with our Lord? We, in our finite minds, don’t have a clue to who we might influence way down the road.
We are like a giant bus in which all of our ancestors are riding. Just remember this little rhyme, ”I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, and what can be the use of it is more than I can see.” Indeed, much more than we will ever see!
Before I retired, at work one day, first thing in the morning, I was getting water to make coffee, when a fellow worker asked me what was wrong? I turned and asked him what he meant. He said that I wasn’t smiling. DAAAA!!!!!! Than he went on to tell me how he could “ALWAYS” count on me for a smile, anytime. Well, it kinda caught me a little off guard, I didn’t have a clue that little things like that could make a difference in other peoples lives.
Another time, when I was home, I was mowing the widow’s lawn next door. She came out of her house and asked me what I was doing this particular night. I was kind of set back and asked her what she meant. She informed me that it was Wednesday evening and that I usually was at Church, so what was I doing mowing her lawn. So, you see we don’t know what kind of influence we might have on people around us.
One day when my daughter was cleaning our granddaughters room she found a note that was about a year old, and this is what it said,” I don’t mean to sound like a suck-up or anything, but you know what, I really look up to grandmamma& granddaddy. I have for a long time too. They both lead such a good Christian life. I love it. And you know what? I couldn’t tell you which person I like better, because they are just both soooo great. I mean, nobody is greater than God & Jesus, but I just look up to them. Every time they say something the Lord has something to do with it. When I grow up I want to exacty like them.