Stewarding Our Influence
Hey friends! Welcome to another episode of the Spark Influence podcast. I'm Misty Phillip and I am so glad you're here with us today. Peter wasn’t able to join us today so I’m flying solo. I decided to dive into a topic that I think is so important, especially for us as Christians: stewarding influence.
And we're not just talking about the kind of influence that comes with having a platform, but also the everyday influence we have in our circles, our families, and our communities.
But before we get started, I want to remind you that today's episode is brought to you by the Spark Media Ignite conference. Join us on September 28-30, 2023 in Houston, TX for the podcast and media event of the year. Visit SparkMedia.Ventures/spark-ignite
Influence is a Gift
So let's jump into today's conversation. Stewarding influence. If you're anything like me, the idea of influence can feel like a heavy responsibility. But it's also a gift from God, and it's our job to use it well. Now, as always, I want to remind you that our faith should be at the center of everything we do, and that includes using our influence. So today, we'll talk about what it means to be a good steward of our influence and how we can use it to point people toward Jesus.
Matthew 25:14-30 ESV
You know, when I think about stewarding influence, one of the first things that comes to my mind is the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. You know, the story where the master goes on a journey and entrusts his servants with different amounts of money, or talents. And the thing I love about this story is that it doesn't matter how much each servant was given; what matters is what they did with it. So whether you have one talent, or five, or a million Instagram followers, what's important is how you use that influence to bring glory to God.
Embrace Your Calling
We should embrace our unique callings. You know, God has created each of us with a specific purpose in mind. And friends, let me tell you, the world needs YOU, just as you are, with the gifts and passions He's placed within you. So whether you're a teacher, an entrepreneur, a parent, or anything else, your influence matters.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:10 ESV.
It is impossible for us to miss our calling. No one else can do the work God has prepared for us to do. He is always raising up people who are surrendered to Him, and His purposes. God has uniquely gifted you for the specific works He is calling you to do. Calling is also about understanding the call, and we what we are called to do - how we can use our gifts to make a difference in the world around us? By exploring these two concepts, we can clarify our true purpose and discover how best to live out that purpose each day. By understanding how we are wired, our unique gifts and callings, we can discover our true purpose in life. Calling We are all called to do all to the glory of God.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV.
Calling is about understanding what we are called to do - how we can use our gifts to make a difference in the world around us. We are all born with a unique purpose and destiny, given to us by our Creator. We are all called to something, whether it is to serve others or use our gifts and talents for the greater good. Regardless of what we do, we have a responsibility to answer that call and fulfill the purpose that has been given to us.
Our Creator has given us the opportunity to co-labor with HIM and make an impact in this world, and it is up to us whether or not we accept it. God doesn’t have to use us. He chooses us to fulfill His will for Kingdom purposes. Understanding our calling and season of life involves recognizing and embracing our purpose, talents, and passions and how they align with the challenges and opportunities we face at a given point in our life. It involves being aware of and accepting the limitations and changes that come with different life stages and using them as opportunities to grow and fulfill our purpose. It requires introspection, self-reflection, prayer, and seeking guidance from others to help us make informed decisions about our direction in life.
God Has a Good Plan
God has a plan for each and every one of us. He has given us the opportunity to work together as believers to build up the body of Christ and meet the needs of those in need. We all have our own place on God's team, with unique gifts and talents that can be used to serve others. We should use these gifts to serve one another, and ultimately glorify God through our actions. By working together with other believers, we can make a difference in this world and bring glory to God's name.
Practical Ways to Steward our Influence
And with that in mind, let's talk about some practical ways to be a good steward of our influence. First, I think it's important to recognize that our influence comes from God. It's not something we've earned or create on our own. It's a gift, and like all gifts, we should use it to honor the Giver. So ask yourself: am I using my influence to serve others and point them towards Jesus? Or am I using it to serve myself and build my own kingdom? Remember that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve, and as his followers, we're called to do the same.
Intentional with Our Words
Secondly, friends, let's be intentional about the way we communicate. You know, words are powerful, and as Christians, we want to make sure that our words are filled with grace and truth. Our words and actions have the power to build others up or tear them down. As we steward our influence, let's be mindful of how we're using our words and actions to point others to Jesus, to love and serve those around us, and to create a positive impact in our communities.
So before you post something online or say something in a conversation, take a moment to ask yourself: is this true? Is it kind? Does it build others up? Or does it tear them down?
Let's be people who use our words to heal and not to harm, to bring light and not darkness.
Circle of Accountability
The next thing I want to touch on is accountability. As much as we might like to think otherwise, none of us is perfect. And when we're in positions of influence, it can be easy to start believing our own hype and lose sight of what's really important. That's why it's so crucial to have people in your life who will keep you grounded, who will challenge you when you need it, and who will remind you of what really matters. Don't be afraid to invite those people in and give them permission to speak into your life. I’ve got a circle of accountability. Not a circle of people who agree with me, People who have permission to speak truth into my life.
Being in a community with other Christians helps us be accountable, encourage each other, and learn from one another. We build one another when we are in community together. We also have a warning from Hebrews to continue meeting especially as the day of Christ is drawing near. “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” - Hebrews 10:25 ESV
Cultivating our faith life in community with others can make a significant in both their lives and in our lives. I’ve personally grown by being in community with other believers in deep and meaningful ways. If we want to steward our influence well we also need to walk in humility. This is a big one, friends. As we grow in influence, it's important to remember that it's not about us. It's about reflecting God's love and grace to others. We must be willing to learn, listen, and be open to correction. Let's lean on God and trust in His wisdom as we navigate these waters.
Cultivating a teachable spirit is essential in walking in humility. This means acknowledging that we don't have all the answers and that we can always learn and grow. Be open to learning from others, whether they are leaders in your field, peers, or even those with less experience. Embrace new ideas and perspectives, and continually seek to expand your knowledge and understanding. A humble and teachable spirit will not only help you become a better steward of your influence, but it will also endear you to others and create opportunities for meaningful connections.
Finally, friends, remember that stewarding influence is a lifelong journey. It's not something we can master in a day or even a year. It's something we'll be learning and growing in for the rest of our lives. So give yourself grace, and when you make mistakes, use them as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Remember, God doesn't call us to be perfect; he calls us to be faithful. And with His help, we can become better and better stewards of the influence he's given us. It's not always easy to navigate this journey of stewarding influence. But thankfully, we don't have to do it alone. God is with us every step of the way, guiding us, providing wisdom, and giving us the strength to persevere. He has given us His word to guide us, and when we daily deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him, He is our shepherd and guide leading us in the way we should go.
The Parable of the Talents
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[d] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ - Matthew 25:14-30 ESV
That's it for today's episode. Remember, you are loved, you are seen, and you have a purpose. Now go out and Spark Influence because the world needs you.