CHRIST - THE FRAGRANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
My son, Jaydon, and I were in the car in COSTCO’s parking lot, waiting for a vehicle to pull out so we could pull into its space. We
assumed that the parked car would be leaving at any moment because the driver had loaded her shopping bags and had returned the trolley. We could see the
reverse lights at the rear of the car, which indicated that the driver was
ready to drive off. The reality, however, was different. The car was not moving
and I was impatient with the wait. Immediately behind our car were a number of
other vehicles waiting for me to move, and, of course, I was waiting for the
parked car to pull out. Being aware of other drivers waiting did add to the
sense of urgency to do something, even though I knew there was nothing I could
do, but wait.
The wait felt like
an eternity. I started to mumble to myself, expressing my frustration that the
parked car was still not moving. Unbeknown to me, Jaydon, who is only five, was
sitting and watching my reaction from the back seat. He heard the words I was saying.
Spontaneously, and unrehearsed, Jaydon calmly said to me, “Daddy, be patient.”
disappointed with my reaction to the situation, I responded sheepishly, “I’m
sorry, son.” At that moment, I knew that I had been wrong as a Christian parent.
I had behaved in a manner that was contrary to what we have taught our
children, and what we expect them to do in similar circumstances. For me, that
learning-moment was also a reminder of the quiet but powerful impact of the
personal influence we all have on others, irrespective of whether our actions
and reactions are intentional. Our influence—the way we live and conduct our
lives as Christian stewards in the world—can be a positive or negative force
that will affect someone’s life and choices for now and into the future (2
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many so that they may be saved."
The Bible deals
with the issue of personal influence quite extensively. The Christian perspective is highlighted well
in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do
it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews,
Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For
I am not seeking my own good but the good of many so that they may be
saved." Paul’s counsel to the Christians in Corinth is still valid for us
today. We are each part of a community, and it is
important that our influence represents Christ.
We must keep before us the goal of helping others to experience Jesus,
and be saved for His eternal kingdom.
In their sojourn
from Egypt to Canaan, Moses continued to remind the Israelites of the
importance of loving God fully. Being part of His covenant-people was a total
lifetime commitment. It was not limited
to only one day of the week—the Sabbath. This emphasis was clearly articulated
in these words, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when
you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy
6:4-7). From the writings of Moses, we see how God desires this message to be
communicated and passed on to children, and even to the next generations. In
the work of religious education, parents are charged with the spiritual
responsibility of leading, and influencing, their young ones in the way of the
Lord. This is Christian stewardship.
INFLUENCE DOES MATTER
The call to accept
Jesus as our Savior and Lord is really an invitation to submit every facet of
our lives to the rule of His Spirit daily. This is a reminder that, as
Christians, we do not live our lives in a vacuum or in isolation from other
people. What we do, even in private, can influence someone’s destiny for
eternity. Additionally, we recognize that as stewards and partners with God, we
are placed here on earth for His purpose, and that purpose is to live out His