Jesus on earth was a gift from God, a never-ending revelation of life. Wherever he went, He was the story. He had a way of capturing attention, not like Harrison Ford, or Oprah, or Lindsay Lohan. He didn’t attract fans, He attracted followers. Jesus was compelling and challenging and unexpected. He had a captivating way with people. Nothing around Him was normal or ordinary. It was as though He was a walking invasion. And, then He stepped into the next chapter and life was forever changed.
From the beginning of his ministry, the mission was clear, “Show people what God is like.”
Putting legs on that mission made Jesus a miracle in our minds, an unprecedented influencer of common everyday folks. He compelled people to re-think and to act differently and to expect the unexpected. He was a mobile initiator of embedded clout.
Looking back on His life…
1. He was gracious
He was a giver; He gave first and then asked for followers to do the same. He healed and forgave and then asked for people to pass it on, to do even more than what He had done.
2. He was more than words
He didn’t just talk and plan; He put his teaching into action. He showed people how to be more than they could imagine. And, He did it consistently, over and over in all circumstances. That kind of behavior empowers followers to do the same.
3. His words hit home
He talked with clarity and authority. He saw through manipulation and dishonestly. Jesus not only saw through it, he called it out and challenged it. He had supernatural wisdom about people and truth.
4. He was always on
Jesus knew how to listen. When people talked to him, he was totally focused on them. He always wanted people to learn, to enjoy, to forgive, and to be free.
5. He talked about God a lot
Jesus lived so people would see what God is like with skin on. He prayed to God, talked like God, and healed like God, but walked and ate and dressed like a man. God came alive around Him.
6. When the time was right, He pulled away
Jesus knew when to be scarce. People have to have time to assimilate change and new information. Jesus gave people time to re-think and re-learn. He tested and tested again. He sent some off on a mission, others waited for Him on the other side of the lake, and all of them watched Him head up the hillside to pray. Truth is, when He was not available, they remembered and rejoiced in His influence most.
Jim McEachern and I met every 5 weeks in a conference room at The Ballpark in Arlington. We met for 3-4 hours at a time, but never watched a game. We share secrets, told stories, confessed failures, set goals, and become close friends.
This new-found treasure trove of divine appointments ended last week. Jim died. He punched his transfer ticket and took the “Heaven-bound” Express. I have a stack of notes, and a lot of information about the man, but I will miss those mini-retreats. I will miss that ordinary, everyday guy who taught me extraordinary life-lessons. I guess we rubbed off on each other. And, I am a better man for it. God was there and we both knew it.
In that first meeting, Jim spoke of his grandfather and grandmother a lot. He had been raised by them in a little town in West Texas.
“One of my most vivid memories,” Jim shared, “is the story of a promise. When my great grandmother was about to die, she pulled my 5-year old, grandfather to her side and said, ‘Malcolm, I am dying and I will be going to Heaven. Malcolm promise me that you will meet me in Heaven some day.'”
“Well,” added Jim, “my grandfather promised and every time he told that story, I think he was wanting me to promise the same.”
“I have; I have made preparations to fulfill that promise.”
“I visited my great grandmother’s grave years ago and realized she had died five decades before I was born. Suddenly I thought—even though it has been 82 years since she died, she is still influencing me. From that point forward, I made it a goal to live my life in such a way that 82 years after I die I will still be positively influencing my family and of other people I have encountered.”
“I’m a goal-setter,” Jim said. “I read about it in a book and that book changed my life.” Jim went on to state, “I have learned that people are most influenced by the books they read and the people they meet. So, when I run into a person I want to be influenced by, I meet with them a lot and when I find a book that gets my attention, I read it over and over.”
Then he surprised me, “So, I want to get to know you and meet with you a lot, if that’s OK?”
And we did, until last week.
In a short period of time I learned a lot from Jim the goal setter. He wanted to influence family and friends so he learned to…
1. Be gracious and thankful
2. Put actions behind his words
3. Make sure his words lifted and honored people
4. Keep his focus on people–one person at a time
5. Make sure people know he’s a God man.
6. Pull way when the time is right (no micro-managing)
I’m working on the six goals. Jim is finished on the earth. He has lived life well…watch what happens next.
The basic question of the week is: “Isn’t it time to stand up and make a difference. Isn’t it time to take your influence to the next level?
What keeps you from being influential?
Can you do something about it?
Isn’t it time?
Category: Faith Notes
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