The Power of Influence: 2 Keys from the Woman at the Well
Have you ever felt overlooked? Perhaps, you were the last one picked at recess. The one that didn’t get invited to the party. Your offered ideas at round-table discussions go unnoticed. Never selected for student office. Your birthdays often go uncelebrated.
When we think about making a difference in the world around us, our past experiences testify against us that we are not prime candidates for Most-Influential-Man/Woman-of-the-Year.
Even if you find the courage to become active within your community and culture, these fears are often confirmed as you wade into the deep end of big personalities, good ol’ boy clubs, and flashy resumes. Non-profits, ministries, and organizations are always seeking the favor of those with proven influence: megachurch pastors, public office holders, CEOs, media moguls, University presidents, etc. Impressive invitations offer these leaders exclusive meals, discounted getaways, and free gifts if they would but attend their events or agree to a meeting.
The strategy is the same. If they can gain the support of those that have a following of people, then they can maximize their organization’s influence. They certainly don’t waste their resources on everyday people whose Twitter following doesn’t exceed 50. It’s nothing personal. It’s just what’s smart.
You would think Jesus would have the same philosophy. I mean, He had the whole world to evangelize! It would make sense that He would spend His precious few years of ministry wooing the rich, young rulers, the religious teachers, the Herods, and the political zealots who could in turn instruct their followers to hop on board with the Kingdom.
Of course, Jesus needed to be in Jerusalem. That’s where all the action was.
But He chose to go through Samaria.
He had an appointment with a Samaritan Woman.
But why? Current strategists wouldn’t waste a penny, moment, or an ounce of effort to reach someone like her: a sinner, an outcast, a Samaritan, a woman. She wasn’t even popular among the other nameless, half-bred women of the area. Even His disciples were surprised Jesus was talking to her.
But when she believed, despite of what everyone thought of her, she proved to be an effective influencer. In fact, the entire town knew about Jesus because of her testimony, and many believed.
Unlike everyone else, Jesus knew her potential. What can we learn from His perspective on the power of influence?
#1: It doesn’t matter where we have been. Through God, we can still change the world if we are willing to change our actions.
Realize the significance of the change in this woman:
She went from shame to shouting.
From seeking solitude to seeking an audience.
From the town harlot to the town crier.
Once she met Christ, she was overwhelmed by a passion to see the town that rejected her accept Jesus. What people thought of her no longer mattered. What a change she was willing to go through!
#2: We don’t have to have affluence, degrees, ordinations, charisma, or high pedigrees to be an influencer. We just have to have the courage to act, no matter the personal cost.
Appreciate what could have happened when this woman went out into her town that didn’t even like her. They might have mocked her, beat her, labeled her as crazy. But, no matter the personal cost to herself, the Samaritan woman told every single person about Jesus. In fact, she would one day be known as the first evangelist next to John the Baptist.
Are we willing to do the same? Are we willing to turn our towns upside down with the news that we have met Christ and they can know Him too?
Often we refrain from sharing what Jesus did for us because we like our comfortable places of respectability, popularity, or even anonymity:
We don’t want to risk sitting alone at lunch or being passed over for a promotion.
We cringe over the possibility of getting dirty looks or being uninvited to parties.
We don’t want to be known as the ignorant, religious fanatic.
While we’d like to believe it’s our lowly positions or limited resources that keep us from being a great influence for Christ, it is most often our fear of what other people will think and our unwillingness to bear the reproach of Christ that keep us from even trying.
But if, like the Samaritan Woman, we can be overcome with a passion to see our city saved, we too can become an influencer. We will see the gap between how we value people verses how God values people.
Do you feel small, powerless, insignificant, unskilled, unable to make a big difference for God? You’re not. He only needs you to be willing to go outside of your comfort zone to tell others about Him, how you discovered the Lord.
So in this world, you may never receive a golden invitation, but in the next, you will receive a crown and the satisfaction of knowing that many precious souls will be in heaven in part because of your influence.
God has used you to change the world.