“We live by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Sometimes I struggle with the word “influencer” that is used in our culture so much these days. According to modern usage, an influencer is someone with thousands of online followers. They influence people to buy certain products, wear certain brands or do certain things. They influence others based upon the choices they make and how they share those choices with their followers.
The problem I have with this term is that it’s exclusionary. Many of us aren’t considered influencers because we don’t have thousands of people following us. It makes us falsely believe our impact is determined by numbers.
But here’s the truth: we’re all influencers, regardless of the number of people who follow us! Every day we’re influencing people all around us: our spouses, our kids, our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, and even strangers.
There are so many everyday examples we can give of how we all have tremendous influence in our day-to-day lives that have nothing to do with social media and our number of online followers.
- We influence our family by the example we set (in so many areas).
- We influence our friends by the advice we give.
- We influence our co-workers by how we react in a disagreement at work.
- We influence strangers by how we acknowledge them.
- We influence ministries with our wallets.
- We influence others and outcomes by our prayers.
There are so many ways we each influence, inspire, and engage with the world offline.
Last year I wrote and taught a Bible study called Legacy: How Women of the Bible Impacted History. I wanted to examine different women in the Bible and how their choices made an impact on the world. They wouldn’t be considered influencers based upon today’s definition, but they were influencers nonetheless. Just like you and me.
One of my favorite women of the Bible is Jochebed, the mother of Moses. Her story is told briefly in just ten verses (Exodus 2:1-10), but her influence lasts to this day.
During the time when Moses was born, the Pharaoh feared the Hebrews would become too numerous and would revolt against the Egyptians. To solve this problem, he decreed that all Hebrew baby boys be murdered at birth.
The Hebrew midwives feared God above Pharaoh and did not murder the babies, claiming that the Hebrew women delivered their babies so quickly that they did not have time to arrive for the delivery. Pharaoh then ordered his people to kill the baby boys by throwing them into the Nile River.
When Moses is born, Jochebed hid him at home for three months. Unable to keep him a secret any longer, she placed her baby in a basket and set it afloat in the Nile River. Jochebed had great faith that God would take care of her son. Moses’ sister, Miriam, followed the basket as it floated along the river.
The basket found its way to the place where Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing. The baby was crying, and she had compassion him. Miriam, who was watching nearby, spoke up and said she knew of a Hebrew woman who could nurse the baby.
Pharaoh’s daughter sent for Jochebed and offered to pay her to take care of Moses until he could be weaned. At that time, he would return to the palace where Pharaoh’s daughter would raise him as her son.
Jochebed’s faith and actions paid great dividends: God provided a way for Moses to be spared and reunited with his mother! Not only that, Jochebed’s actions of faith paved the way for God to use Moses, her son, to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. Her influence literally changed a nation.
Jochebed wasn’t famous. She was an ordinary woman and mom who had great faith and acted upon it.
We don’t need thousands of followers to influence this world for good. We can live by faith in the everyday and see what wonderful things God does because of it.