ImageI heard a joke about Bill and Hillary Clinton recently. It seems they were on vacation one weekend, and decided to go for a drive to see the beautiful countryside. After a while, they needed to stop for gas. They pulled into a tiny gas station, and out walked a man to help them. Hillary looked up and screamed at the top of her lungs, “Charley! Is that you? I can’t believe it!” She jumped out of the car and gave the man a big hug, and proceeded to talk with the man for a long time. After they were finished talking, they hugged again, and Hillary got back in the car.

As they were driving away, Bill turned to Hillary and asked “Honey, who was that?”

That was Charley, an old boyfriend of mine,” she responded. “We dated for a long time, and almost got married.”

“Just think,” said Bill. “If you had married him, today you would be the wife of a gas station attendant.”

“No,” said Hillary, “If I had married him, today he would be the President of the United States!”

So, which of the two has had the greater influence on the other — Bill or Hillary? I’m not going to touch that one with a ten-footpole! (do I look stupid?) (that’s a rhetorical question – no responses please!)

But it raises an interesting question: 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.

~Alan Smith

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