Who is the shyest person you know?  Picture them in your mind.  Got it?  Good.  Now…

Imagine that person at the end of his or her life.  And sometime just before they kiss this world good-bye they’re the guest of honor at the most amazing invitation-only celebration.  This party is reserved for those whose life has somehow been touched – influenced – by Shy Guy himself.

Care to hazard a guess how many names are on the invitation list?

Ten thousand.  A myriad.  Ten thousand people whose lives are influenced by the most reserved, quiet girl or guy you know.

That’s nothing compared to the lives that have been impacted by bubbly ol’ you.  And this isn’t about somebody else’s influence.  It’s about yours.

This is about your myriad.  Or in your case, perhaps your million.  It’s about all the people who make decisions because of you.  Who make changes because of you.  Who establish relationships, try something new, dig deeper, grow wiser, or go farther because of your influence.  Or, it’s about the people who grow hard-hearted, discouraged, dispirited, or fearful because you showed them how.

Somebody’s watching.  Somebody’s doing.  Somebody’s believing.  Somebody’s changing.  And they all have you to thank.

The Meeting of Your Myriad

It would stun you to know how pervasive your influence is.  And if, in our little imaginary story, you were the guest of honor, you would be humbled and heartened by the people who came to the party.  We’re in iceberg territory, friends, where most of the weight of your reach is below the surface of your awareness.

You just don’t realize how contagious you are.

That said, you can know what brings The Myriad to your party.  You can know the points where you are the most contagious.  At the meeting of your Myriad, the thousands of people you swayed will be brought there by:

1.  The hope that sustains you.

Life is filled with uncertainties and the constant lookout for whatever can give us confidence to face them.  The biblical word for that is hope. And when you find yours, others will follow to the degree that you are truly confident in it.  Your Myriad won’t be fooled by your platitudes or the things you mouth off to help you feel better.  But they will tend to find hope in the same things or people you do.

2.  The values that move you.

What is important enough to you that it prompts you to express your passions, spend your money, invest your time, or talk endlessly about?  However it may appear on the surface, or however quietly you may go about it, you are passing those values along – especially to those who know you best.  That includes the value you ascribe to yourself, your children, other people, or God.  Your values are highly contagious, and you’ll find them reflected in your Myriad.

3.  The faith that guides you.

I’m not talking about your doctrines.  The old saying is, “What you believe is what you live.  All the rest is just religious talk.”  And what you live, and the beliefs behind it, is continually on display.  Your beliefs about God, people, life, Democrats, squash, music, brands, children, money and an endless array of other things are continually touching other lives.  Your beliefs may not always garner agreement, but they will inevitably touch The Myriad.

4.  The ambitions that engage you.

What you do is important, of course.  But why you do it is even more important.  Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly ambitious, you aspire to something.  Even brokenhearted, burned-out dreamers still dream.  What do you dream of?  What kind of life do you imagine?  What true motives lie at the root of your choices or life direction?  Chances are those motives were influenced by, and will influence, someone else.

5.  The authorities that govern you.

Who or what are you accountable to?  Even if the answer to that is “nobody,” your sense of loyalty or accountability lives on in The Myriad.  In this area, people live with a sense of stewardship and responsibility or a sense of entitlement or independence.  Either way, you’re blazing a trail and somebody is following.

6.  The issues that persuade you.

Somebody ever change your mind? About anything?  You’re part of their Myriad.  And anyone you have persuaded to do or believe, well, just about anything, is part of yours.  Of course this includes logical arguments.  But it also includes deeply-held convictions, urgently-felt concerns, or fears of any stripe.  The Myriad will always have those people who have adopted your way of thinking – even if later your way of thinking changes.

7.  The love that compels you.

More than anything discussed so far, the “greatest of these” really is love.  And your heart is an ever-evolving assembly of multiple levels of it.  Your love (or lack thereof) of the outdoors, your favorite sports team, the people who delight you, your family, your God – all these and more impact The Myriad.  They may not always be persuaded by your arguments, but they will respond most quickly to a love that compels you to action.

8.  The forces that transform you.

This may be the most powerful of all.  Anybody ever ask, “What got into you?”  There’s a reason.  When The Myriad senses a change in you, they launch an investigation.  The deeper the change, the deeper the investigation.  Changing laundry detergents may not create much of a ripple.  But a change in your character, your disposition, your confidence level or your habits certainly will.  Sure, there are cynics who will seek to discredit you.  But there will also be “believers” – many of them, who embrace whatever or whoever can have such an impact on you.

 

Your life right now is a reflection of a countless number of influences.  Large and small, recent and distant, your life is living proof that people die, but legacies and influence live on.  In fact, what influenced me to write this was something my son-in-law said while preaching yesterday, and something a man wrote nearly 2,000 years ago.  I’m in their Myriad.

Your influence does the same thing. In countless ways, conscious and unconscious, you are gathering a following.

The question is, where is your Myriad headed?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Peggy Jones June 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Wow I have never even thought about being an influence on people. I always just tried to love them, but I guess that is an influence as well. That makes me more aware of the things I say and the way in which I say them. May I always lift my Jesus high with my actions and comments. Bless you my precious friend.

I heard we need to really pray for Hal Opperman, he is very sick.

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