Some time back my wife and I went to hear The Talley’s in concert. For years this group has consisted of Roger & Deborah Talley and their daughter, Lauren. We have literally watched Lauren grow up on the stage, so to speak, singing with her momma and daddy.
This night, instead of the normal trio, there was a fourth person on stage with them. Soon, this person was introduced as Lauren’s new husband. And I immediately thought, “Lord I’m getting old. She should still be a little girl!”
As Lauren began to speak, no longer as a little girl, but as a mature, married young lady, she said something very profound.
She said, “I have begun noticing more and more lately the great responsibility that comes with being the person that stands on the stage with the microphone in your hand.” Wow! I encourage you to pause right here, reread what she said, and digest its truth.
Regardless of who you are and in which venue of life you are operating, when you are the person, so to speak, who is standing on the life’s stage with a microphone in your hand, you are held to a higher standard. More is expected of you. You have a greater sphere of influence. And the sense of responsibility associated with your position can, at times, become almost palpable.
In life, all of us share a common power. I call it: The Power of Influence. All have a circle of friends, family, or acquaintances upon which we wield some degree of influence. The question is not do we have the power to influence others.
The question is whether or not we will accept the responsibility that comes with being an “influencer.” I am afraid that all too often each of us has been guilty of simply shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Not my problem. Not my responsibility.” And then assigning blame to others.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11 (KJV) the great Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
What was Paul teaching? In a word: responsibility. There is a strange thing about life – if you live long enough you go through the maturing process. He is saying that when he matured he accepted the responsibility associated with being the one standing on life’s stage with a microphone in his hand!
Responsibility is in short supply today in America. We all have the ability to become an “influencer” for that which is good, decent, and moral. But the reality is that not many want the responsibility that comes with it.
It’s easier to simply blame others for what we perceive as injustices in this world. Why, when it comes to religious/moral failures, the churches blame the world and the world blames the churches.
When it comes to political failures, the president blames the congress, the congress blames the president, the republicans blame the democrats, and the democrats blame the republicans.
When it comes to educational failures, momma and daddy blame the schools for little Johnny or Suzie’s failures, and the schools blame momma and daddy.
When it comes to divorce, the wife blames the husband and the husband blames the wife. When it comes to teenage pregnancy, STD’s, rampant addictions, and a thousand other things – we can all ignore our responsibility and play the blame game.
But meaningful change will never come until each of us, one by one, put away childish things, accept our responsibility, and become the “influencer” God intends for us to be.
Speaking of “influence,” a pastor friend once said, “For the leader, “power” is like a bar of soap – the more you use it the less you have.” His point? As we stand on life’s stage with a microphone in our hand, how we used our “influence” not our “power” is the standard by which we will be judged! Choose wisely.