When I went away to the Lausanne consultation and talked with a group of other people about using business as mission, about 98% of our time was spent talking about how to reach the "people of influence" in business. Our definition of that seemed to be something about a business owner or a business CEO or manager who exerted a ton of control and authority about how those businesses were run.
I struggled with that definition and with that focus. Because I don't really believe that just because you have influence in a business setting you're going to have a spiritual influence on the world. In fact, I think that business people are just like everyone else--they have their limited sphere of people they can truly relate to and influence on a personal level. In addition, I'm not sure the qualities and character that Jesus calls us into are always compatible with those positions of power.
So the last few days, I've been mulling over the question, "what does it take to be a person of spiritual influence?" And I just keep going back to this--a life dedicated to Jesus Christ, following in his footsteps, listening for his leading, and dependent on the Spirit of God.
The life of the kingdom is a life of sacrifice, of loss and of self-denial. Not in the ascetic form, but in the truly sacrificial way of choosing the interests of others above yourself. It's often a life of suffering and discomfort. It's a life lived by a different set of values. It looks different and it feels different than a life where you're chasing after your own needs and desires all the time.
The truth is, anyone can be a person of spiritual influence. You don't have to be charismatic. You don't have to be powerful. You don't have to be super-smart. You just have to be willing to wake up each day, to offer what you have to Jesus, and to watch him work through you. It was the lowly fisherman, it was the boy with 2 fish and 5 loaves, it was the widow giving all she had that Jesus commended. They were the ones who were changing the world.
Are you offering each day to Jesus? Are you inviting the Spirit to work in and through you to change the world? Are you willing to obey when Jesus calls you to do something?