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Influence


            The word influence does not appear in the Authorised Version of the Bible or the J. N. D. translation after checking with my concordances. However, the thought is there and one would draw attention to the evil of using persons of influence to persuade others do what we want them to do. Three Biblical examples are given below.


            Firstly, we have the case in Luke 12:13/14 which reads: “And a person said to him out of the crowd, Teacher, speak to my brother to divide the inheritance with me. But he (Christ) said to him, Man, who established me [as] a judge or a divider over you ?” Christ was not prepared to use his influence to assist the man asking him to effectively act as a judge and divider. He went on to propound the parable of the rich man as a warning against covetousness.


            It may be worth noticing that he calls the unnamed person who spoke to Him out of the crowd simply Man as in other cases He called a lady simply Woman (e. g. John 4:21).


            Secondly, we have the case of the rich man in hades (Luke 16:24. The rich man did not address Lazarus directly but sought to get Abraham to use his influence to get Lazarus to do him a favour. Abraham pointed out that the rich man had received his good things in his lifetime and Lazarus likewise evil things and that now, so to speak, the boot was on the other foot. Further, he also points out the impossibility of doing what the rich man asked. Abraham was not going to use any influence he may have had with Lazarus to get him to either alleviate the suffering of the rich man or, as it says later in the chapter, send him to the house of the rich man’s father. 


            Thirdly, we have the case of Martha in Luke 10:38-42. She tried to get Christ to use his influence with Mary to get her to come and help her with serving. She did not ask Mary directly, but wanted to use Christ as an intermediary. Christ would have none of it. The serving was necessary, but not to the lengths Martha was taking it which was the cause of her trouble. No doubt that if we were in Martha’s position we would have wanted to give the Lord and his disciples the best meal we could. However, Christ was not one to make a lot of material food as we learn from Matthew 6:25-34 and John 6:26/27.


            Maybe, there are other passages that could be referred to, but these are sufficient to show that we should not seek to use the Lord or others for our own selfish ends.


            On a yet more serious note one would mention here that in Matthew.14 (see particularly verse 8) we find that the execution of John the Baptist was due to the instruction of Herodias to her daughter, who put the matter to Herod, who then yielded to her wicked desire.

 

            Pilate similarly bowed to pressure to have Christ crucified (Luke 23:25).


            In a church setting it would similarly be evil to yield to someone who likes to have the first place and who uses his influence to have Christians excommunicated for no better reason than that he considers them rivals (3 John 9-11).


            We should not yield to such influences. If we do we are like the one spoken of in Proverbs 25:26. “A troubled fountain, and a defiled well, is a righteous [man] that giveth way before the wicked”.


March 2010


 



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