Today Time Magazine released its annual list of the top 100 influential people in the world. The entertainment world is heavily featured, with artists on four of the six covers.
Oscar winner, Leonardo diCaprio, Musical artist Nicki Minaj, Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quantico actress Priyanka Chopra. The other two covers include monetary Fund leader Christine Lagarde and husband and wife philanthropists Mark Zukerberg and Priscilla Chan who share a cover.
For the 13th year Time has recognized prominent public people with an essay about each one. Also included on the list are Pope Francis. Ted Cruz. Donald Trump. Lester Holt. Adele. Stephen Curry. Melissa Mc Carthy. Vladimir Puttin. And Caitlyn Jenner a.k.a. Bruce Jenner.
We’re captivated by the super star athlete. The musician. The movie star. The politically powerful. The bizarre lifestyle. And the rich and famous who grace the pages of People magazine. They make news. Influence public opinion. And are followed by millions on Twitter.
But as influential and important as these people are, who can you name who made the list 10 years ago? 5 years ago? Or even last year?
In contrast can you remember the name of your first grade teacher? Your favorite teacher? A coach who made a difference in your life? The best man at your wedding? Your college roommate? A college professor who made an impression on you? A preacher who influenced you?
So who are really the true people of influence in our lives?
The people who’ve made the biggest impact in our lives are people with whom we’ve shared a relationship. Parents who have shaped our values. Teachers who’ve inspired us. Coaches who’ve pushed us to be better. Preachers who’ve imparted spiritual wisdom. And pastors who’ve modeled the mind of Christ.
Too often we fail to appreciate those closest to us who have contributed to our physical, mental, moral and spiritual well-being. Those who have invested their lives in us. Believed in us. And encouraged us.
My life has been shaped by my godly parents, Roy and Mattie Weliever, who instilled in me values. My boyhood preacher, Aude McKee, who baptized me, was my mentor in my first feeble attempts to preach and taught me how to outline a sermon. I learned that a good sermon need not be long to be effective from Robert Jackson. I learned humor from James P. Miller. Effective communication from my speech teacher Bob Owen. Biblical exegesis from C. D. Hamilton. Insight into the Old testament prophets from Homer Hailey. And countless others who have touched my life in a positive way.
These people never made Time’s list or appeared in People Magazine. But I think of the many people they influenced.
We need to be reminded that we all have the ability to exert influence. To make a difference. To touch the lives of young people. To set a godly example before our friends, neighbors and relatives.
The admonition of Jesus speak to the importance our influence.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)
The word of this unknown poet remind us of the daily impact of our influence.
My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done,
Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets the evening sun,
This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray;
Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman