Last week we considered people who influence us, this week I’d like to look at those whom we influence.
The closing verse of the 23rd Psalm says “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me…” which is often interpreted as God’s goodness and mercy being poured out upon us, but when quoting this Psalm I like to picture myself walking through my days scattering God’s goodness and mercy wherever I go, sort of like a flower girl scattering sweet-smelling rose petals at a wedding.
In today’s chaotic world, we all need sweet mercies to overcome the stench of hopelessness we find around us. While I can’t wipe out a virus, put out wildfires, or even make much of an impact on national policy, I can influence the people around me. I can remind them that no matter how bleak circumstances may seem, there is hope.
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.Romans 5:5 (NKJV
Rather than adding my own voice of doom and gloom, I can counter depression and despair with hope. I can emphasize whatever goodness there is and I can show mercy and love to each one I meet.
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!Romans 5:5 (MSG)
In the western states, wild fires have raged for months this summer and we have lived with many days of smoky skies filled with unhealthy air. On the infrequent days with good air quality, we eagerly take deep breaths of clean, fresh air.
In a climate of almost constant uncertainty and fear, God’s promises bring hope, a breath of fresh air for all who believe.