What people have influenced you the most? That’s what I hope you’ll be thinking about as you read this series of blog posts, beginning today. Each Wednesday for the next few months I’ll be talking about an individual who has influenced me in very significant ways.
I have two goals for this series:
- I hope you’ll think with gratitude about the people who have influenced you.
- I hope you’ll ponder your influence on others.
A few years ago while my wife, Gloria, worked at a local seminary, we attended a staff retreat. In one small group, we were asked what people had influenced us the most over the course of our lives. A whole host of names were written on the board. Then the leader asked us why they had influenced us so significantly. Again, the responses were recorded on the board.
At the end, we reflected on all the reasons why we were influenced by the significant people in our lives. Among all those reasons, there was not a single professional ability. No one had been had been nominated as a significant influencer because they were brilliant or talented. The people who had influenced us the most were those who had taken the time to care about us personally.
Do you want to be a good, godly influence on someone? Care about them, and show it by investing your time, one-on-one.
My own list of influencers will include a number of people who took time to care about me. But you’ll also see a few people from the past…people of a different time whom I’ve never met. They made my list because their passion ignited my passion.
Creative work can be lonely. Serving God in any capacity can be lonely. Part of His training often involves separating His servants completely to Himself. Decades after He called me to serve Him, that loneliness is still part of my ongoing experience. I often feel like it is just Him and me in this work.
But that’s never been the truth. He has always given me companions—companions who shared my heart for the work and who generously shared with me their much-needed abilities. A few of these very significant people won’t get their own article in the weeks that follow, so please allow me to thank them here:
- Dr. Edwin Willmington, head of the Fred Bock Institute of Music at Fuller Seminary. He is a wise and talented Christian musician who has an important ministry in connecting people who need to know each other. I have been a grateful recipient of that ministry more than once. Thank you, Ed!
- Dennis Allen, composer, arranger, producer, keyboard player, and now college professor. If you have heard any of our recordings on LNWhymns.com, you’ve enjoyed Dennis’ work. He has arranged, produced, and played keyboards on every new demo we’ve ever done—many hundreds. His talented wife, Nan, has done all the female solos, and his equally-talented son, Mark, has recorded most of the male solos. What God-sends they have been!
- My daughter, Kindra Bible, full-time missionary stationed in Quito, Ecuador, and computer programmer. (Yes, with modern communications, some missionaries are computer programmers!) How could a techno-phobe like me ever have such a wonderful website? She’s the answer.
Thank you, Ed, Dennis, and Kindra! I humbly thank God for each one of you.
With each of us, our lives can play important parts in a purpose much greater than we could ever imagine. The sovereign God of all reality can use each of us to influence precious people, present and future. So stay faithful in the place He has put you.