Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”
Psalm 145: 16
“There’s not a craving in the mind
Thou dost not meet and still;
There’s not a wish the heart can have
Which Thou dost not fulfill.”
Frederick W. Faber
Today’s Study Text:
“And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?”
1 Kings 11: 41
“And King Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses and mules, a rate year by year. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that are in the low plains in abundance. And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands…And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father.”
II Chronicles 9: 22-31
“5 Lessons From the Life of Solomon” – Part 5
Lesson #5: The Power of Your Influence
“The thing we fear most is having lived our lives pleasantly, but to have made no measurable difference whatever.”
Lloyd John Ogilvie
Life Without Limits
Influence: “A power indirectly or intangibly affecting a person or event. Power to sway or affect based on prestige, wealth, ability, or status.”
If someone asked me what I thought my influence was during my life and what my legacy would be after I died, how do I think I would answer?
“Blessed is the influence of one true loving soul on another.”
“Every life is a profession of faith, and exercises an inevitable and silent influence.”
I have an interesting question to ask you today: “If you awoke this morning to find an obituary in the daily newspaper which had your name on it, what do you think it would say?”
Obviously, if you were reading the newspaper, you would not have died. Let’s just say that it was by accident that this event transpired. What do you think others would say about your life when you were not around anymore?
According to a story told by Nicholas Halasz and quoted by Robert Raines in Creative Brooding, this situation happened in 1888 to a man named Alfred Nobel who was the inventor of dynamite. As the story goes, Mr. Nobel, “spent his life amassing a fortune from the manufacture and sale of weapons.” One morning, he awakened to find out he was dead, at least according to his obituary, which because of a journalistic error, was printed in the newspaper. The reason this problem developed was that Alfred Nobel’s brother had died. Because a reporting goof, the announcement was made and as might be imagined, Alfred was shocked to hear of his demise. But it was the way the world viewed him, the way his life was portrayed, which really took Mr. Nobel by surprise for he was seen as: “the dynamite King (the weapon maker).” To the wealthy industrialist, who made his money blowing things up, the entire purpose of his life could be summed up in one word, “BOOM!” His life story doesn’t end here, though. Being what the public saw as a “merchant of death, and for that alone he would be remembered…as he read his obituary with shocking horror, he resolved to make clear to the world the true meaning and purpose of his life. This could be done through the final disposition of his fortune. His last will and testament would be the expression of his life’s ideals…and the result was the most valued of prizes given to this day to those who have done most for the cause of world peace – The Nobel Peace Prize.”
I go back to my original question, “How would your obituary read if it were written today?” I’ve asked myself the very same question, too.
As we look today at the fifth and final lesson we have learned from the life of Solomon, it may be one of the most important lessons, for as George Truett observed, “The most serious thing in all the world is this matter of personal influence.”
As I laid out in our study text for today, the details from the book of II Chronicles 9, which tell about the way surrounding nations came to pay homage to Solomon with their multiple and annual gifts, I was struck by the fact that Solomon’s fortune didn’t bring him closer to God, nor did his unrelenting craving for women draw his heart heavenward. Instead, he penned in Ecclesiastes 12: 8, KJV, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” And then, it was as though Solomon, in looking back over his entire life, wanted to leave behind this important legacy when he advised, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, ‘ I have no pleasure in them’…Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: ‘Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man’” (Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 13, K.J.V.).
Pastor and author Warren Wiersbe, in his gem of a book entitled, Be Hopeful, tells of a meeting in the summer of 1805 when, “a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Buffalo Creek, New York to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society.” After the sermon, this was the response given by Red Jacket, one of the leaders among the chiefs. Here’s part of his response: “Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat, we will then consider again what you have said.”
In the words of the great English Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God.” I would add, that when we allow God’s Spirit to fill 100% of our heart; when we do not give our heavenly Father a divided heart or divided time; when we follow under the guiding hand of His sovereign rule; and when we stay vigilant as we watch and pray, it is then that everything we touch, will have the imprint of our heavenly Father’s love in it, for this is what we will leave behind. This will be our Christ-like legacy. As George Hodges so eloquently penned; “(She) is a Christian who tries to be the kind of neighbor Christ would be, and the kind of citizen Christ would be, and who asks (herself) in all the alternatives of (her) business life, and (her) social life, and (her) personal life, ‘what would the Master do in this case?’ The best Christian is (she) who most reminds the people with whom (she) lives of the Lord Jesus Christ. (She) who never reminds anybody of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a Christian at all.”
“Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
Lives of great men (and women) all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, vision.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy
O divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to love,
for it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are
born to eternal life.”
Francis of Assisi
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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