There’s a story that Thomas Wheeler, CEO of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, tells on himself. He and his wife were driving along an interstate highway when he noticed that their car was low on gas. Wheeler got off the highway at the next exit and soon found a rundown gas station with just one gas pump. He asked the attendant to fill the tank and check the oil, then went for a little walk around the station to stretch his legs.
As he was returning to the car, he noticed that the attendant and his wife were engaged in an animated conversation. The conversation stopped as he paid the attendant. But as he was getting back into the car, he saw the attendant wave and heard him say, “It was great talking to you.”
As they drove out of the station, Wheeler asked his wife if she knew the man. She said that she did. They had gone to high school together and had dated steadily for about a year. ” Boy, were you lucky that I came along,” bragged Wheeler. “If you had married him, you’d be the wife of a gas station attendant instead of the wife of a chief executive officer.”
“My dear,” replied his wife, “if I had married him, he’d be the chief executive officer and you’d be the gas station attendant!”
So, which of the two had the greater influence on the other – the husband or the wife? You see, in any relationship, both parties have an influence on the other. After 34 years of marriage, I have influenced my wife to be different than she was 34 years ago (she now enjoys playing computer games) and she has influenced me to be different than I was 34 years ago (I eat more vegetables than I used to!). It would be interesting to consider which of us has had a greater pull on the other through the years.
But an even more important question is this: Who has the greater influence on the other — you or the world? That is to say, has the world shaped you and made you what you are today, or have you changed the world around you by your influence on it?
Christians are called by God not to be transformed by the world, but to be a transforming influence on the world. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described our calling in this way:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Make a decision today not to let the world pull you away from God. Rather determine to live in such a way that will draw the people around you closer to God.
Have a great day!
Alan Smith [email protected]