“It’s all a popularity contest,” my friend explained as the votes rolled in for student council. That was not music to my ears. Let’s just say I hadn’t secured a spot at the cool kids’ lunch table yet. In the end, I didn’t make the cut for student council, but over the years I learned that popularity is far less important than influence.
Influence is about so much more than sitting at the “right” table. It doesn’t matter if you have the most friends, a fancy job, or an official position at your church. If you have the courage to speak the truth in love, you can be influential. If your life is marked by following God in faith, you will naturally inspire those around you. Whether your circle of reach is a few people or an auditorium, God has placed others in your path for a reason.
Our text today shows the saving work God can do through the influence He’s given us. It’s unclear if Esther was selected as queen purely based on her outward beauty, a result of her wise actions, or due solely to God’s divine intervention. But one thing is clear: “Esther gained favor in the eyes of everyone who saw her” (Esther 2:15). However she got there, you can’t deny that Esther found herself in a position of great power. She had the ear of the king, and she didn’t waste her opportunity.
What I want all of us to realize is just how much influence God has already given us! It’s easy to discount the impact your words and actions can make on others. The world feels so big, and its problems feel so complex—we feel helpless to fix it all. It’s easy to come up with a million reasons why our roles don’t matter. Is it possible those are excuses to avoid using our influence for the glory of God?
If you’re a mom, your work of shepherding tiny humans every day will have an everlasting impact on their souls. If you work outside the home, your daily choices can touch the lives of your coworkers and clients, both relationally and through the quality of your work. If you’re a student, your interactions with classmates and teachers could be used to change their eternal fate. No matter who you are, your life and actions can lead people closer to God.
We can certainly admire the courage and obedience of Esther. She didn’t become arrogant when the king turned his favor on her because she recognized that it’s God’s attention and affection that truly matter. When push came to shove, Esther chose to risk not just her popularity but her very life to accomplish what God was calling her to do—and not just for her sake, but for the sake of God’s people. Isn’t that the kind of legacy we want to be remembered for?
First, we need to understand and acknowledge the influence God has given us. Who are the people God has placed in our path? Then we can ask Him how He wants us to use our influence as ambassadors of His good news. By seeking after the Lord’s favor above all others, we will find the courage to risk it all for the glory of His kingdom.
The question is not so much whether or not you have influence. The real question is, what are you doing with it?
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