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Return to 1st Quarter 2019 articles.

The title of this article is The Influence of One. A young man shrugging his shoulders, which means I don't know gesture.

by Stephen D. Eckstein, Jr.

The world has never been influenced by a group, but only by individuals. A group is composed of individuals, each of whom must act for him or herself. No one can act for you. Thus, no one should minimize any person, young or old, rich or poor, male or female. Each person wields an influence which is eternal in its reach and impact.


Adolph Hitler was once a babe in arms. Later, he became dictator of Germany and for twelve years changed the course of history. Directly and indirectly, he was responsible for the death of over 20 million people and the maiming and wounding of millions more in body and in mind. His decisions led to property loss in the trillions of dollars. His influence has affected directly or indirectly nearly every person alive today.


In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. No one can measure the influence this instrument has exerted over our world. The number and kinds of calls made by people stagger the imagination. This scientific marvel is neutral. A person may use it to encourage the sick, talk to a loved one, convey the gospel of Christ, gossip about another, tempt one to sin, or threaten someone. How do you use the telephone?


Abraham lived about 2000 B.C. Major events in his life are recorded in Genesis 12-25. The influence of this patriarch is evident as one reads the Bible. Fifteen Old Testament books and eleven in the New Testament refer to him. John 8, Acts 7, Romans 4, Galatians 3 and 4, Hebrews 7 and 11, relate his significance in the biblical message. If all the material in the Bible about Abraham were deleted, great gaps would appear in the text. Abraham exerted a powerful influence upon the world and still does through the biblical record. What kind of good impact do you have on people for the glory of GOD?


After Joshua reprimanded Israel for serving other gods, he declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua's choice has uplifted countless numbers of people.

Young woman reading her Bible by a stream in summer.

Ruth, a Moabitess, chose God rather than idols and became a link in the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah. A Bible book bears her name. Her sister-in-law, Orpah, chose Moab and left no record other than her wrong decision (Ruth 1:14-18; 4:21; Matthew 1:5).

An unnamed captive Israelite girl changed the course of Naaman's life by a few words to her mistress concerning a prophet who could cure leprosy (2 Kings 5:2-3).

Each choice we make will influence someone, even though the world may not know it. Perhaps you may not know it. God knows and will honor every cup of water given (Matthew 10:42). “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).


About A.D. 62, Paul wrote four letters while bound by chains and guarded by Roman soldiers. He had no idea that nineteen centuries later his letters, as part of the New Testament, would be translated into over 1,000 languages and be read by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Nor did Tychicus, a beloved fellow servant, realize the importance of his ministry — to deliver the letters to their destinations (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7-9). Both writer and messenger had important tasks and far-reaching impacts.


Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came in human form, died on a cross for the sins of all people, was raised from the dead, and before ascending into heaven promised to come again. HIS life completely changed the course of human history; hopelessness into hope, death to life. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know” is absolutely true to each child of God. If each Christian removed the name of Jesus every time he had read it in the Bible, in a paper or periodical, sung in a song, spoken in a word, or heard from another person, then great segments of one's life would be radically altered. Every joint-heir of Christ will say, “Jesus has changed my life completely.”

A young African American man with his hands folded praying to God.

Strangely, even non-Christians are profoundly influenced by GOD and JESUS. Why do people not swear and use profanity in the name of John Doe instead of in the name of our Creator and Savior? It is because GOD and JESUS are known as the greatest names in the world. The profane person supposedly fortifies his words by the vain use of the name of God and Christ.

The Christian recognizes the powerful influence of Jesus in such marvelous communication as these:

  • “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
  • “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • “God gave us eternal life and this life is in his son” (1 John 5:11).
  • “For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


If your name is in the Lamb's book of Life, you will be saved (Philippians 4:3). No one can be saved or lost for you. It's an individual matter. Choose Jesus today and every day. Let your life be a continual influence for HIM by “doing everything in the name of the LORD JESUS, giving thanks to GOD THE FATHER through HIM” (Colossians 3:17).

Picture credits:
© Spaxia. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
© JDGregory. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
© feierabend. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.

Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.