We often hear about “Family Trees,” and how to find our ancestors online and our heritage. We know where we learned to speak the language we do, we know how to share about what our parents were like, or our siblings and other family members, but there are not trees that we can put together online to find where we have been influenced.
Only we know deep down who influenced us most, who left a legacy, an imprint on our lives, who shaped us deeper than our own family, who taught us specific things that became our strengths, who was that example to us of morals and values that we might not have been raised to know.
Sometimes it can be our family as the ones who influenced for the positive, and sometimes it can be outside sources, those who maybe we could have met sitting on a train to New York, or standing in the grocery line.
I remember I was sitting an airport and this woman said to me, “ It is important to find angels in this world, but its more important to be one ourselves.” I have never forgotten that, I am pretty sure I was about 12.
It is very true that each person we meet in our lives, is either there for a season, to get us through the certain time, a reason, that maybe they are there at the airport with a word, or a lifetime…they walk through each season with us, and we are always learning new things from them, and we walk alongside one another.
I could name a good few people…My Pastor and his wife have amazing parents that led the way for them, My Pastor’s mom once helped bring over 100 children to salvation because of starting transportation to church each Sunday, which if you knew my Pastor you would see that on his heart in the way of going out into the city and sharing Jesus with anyone and everyone in anyway possible and My Pastors wife, her parents have taught all over the country and her mother has written Bible Studies. She follows in their footsteps and is a very powerful teacher. I have personally learned more than I could have ever imagined from them all.
We all have a influence, we all have a voice…it does not end with us.
The point of talking about legacy though, today was Billy Graham’s funeral.
Everyone has their own story of how Billy Graham impacted them.
My mom could tell you the call she received from him while working for At&t and she had to connect his call.
For me, I don’t have a Billy Graham story, but I do have one of Anne Graham Lotz.
It was September 2010. It was a very tough year, a forced move back to Florida, my best friend passed away…it was just a very tough year.
My friend and I were chatting one day about “ Just Give Me Jesus,” and she said she thought about reading it, and I replied how I had owned the book and maybe I should pick it back up.
I started to read it, and within that week my friend I worked at retail store with advised me that Anne Graham Lotz would be at her church that Saturday and invited me.
I’ll never forget the way she walked on stage. It was not a beginning with, “ Good morning, how is everyone…” blah blah…it was walking on stage and saying, “ Let’s open our Bibles.” She was direct and to the point and made sure everyone knew the reason she stood on that stage that day. It was the first lesson that truly explained to me who the Holy Spirit really was, which in the best way to describe in her words were. “ Jesus without skin.”
You can find her full teaching here: https://littlestepsoffaith.com/2010/09/01/the-work-of-the-holy-spirit-notes-from-anne-graham-lotz-speaking/
Influence is like a family tree. Anyone who has ever impacted you or I, they connect somewhere to another branch. This is what it is to be the body of Christ, we all have a part, we all have a calling, we all have people God wants us to reach out to and show them who He is through us.
I loved how I wrote a comment about having attended the teaching on Beth Moore’s blog as she shared about Living Proof Live from that weekend and she replied to me, ” I love this. I have such esteem for Anne.” She was in the middle of sharing about her conference and those comments poured in, but it spoke such volumes that she replied to that one.
We all are connected in some way, shape or form….by influence.
We have been influenced, and its important to rise up and show the world what we know, what are the facts, teach them truth in love, and even if they might not listen to us at first, we know we were once people who did not always “ listen,” either. Stand in the gap for those whose voices are becoming hoarse and speak alongside of them.
It is okay if the world knows we are not perfect, but we should be able to point to let them know that God is, and that He can handle far more than our strength, wisdom and knowledge ever could.
He is who we should influence the world by, we speak, live, breathe, move because of Him alone.