You Have Influence

Government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another.

                                          – Montesquieu

Did you know that the United States constitution was heavily influenced by the French?

Did you know that the French were heavily influenced by one French philosopher by the name of Montesquieu?

A man who penned some of the greatest quotes in history in regards to government.
Quotes like the one I started with, which is one of my favorites, and quotes like these…..

“Useless laws weaken the necessary laws”

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.”

“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.”

“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”

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What’s so special about this guy that he influenced so many people, not to mention governments?

The answer is, nothing… really. He was born into money and inherited his status. Sure he had talents, talents he used to advance himself and ambitions (of which he had plenty) he used to build a name for himself in history.

He married a protestant woman, someone that for the most part he ignored. Britannica says he “does not appear to have been either faithful or greatly devoted to her.

Montesquieu himself seemed to have little or no faith at all, the school he attended when he was younger was of the Catholic persuasion but that didn’t stop him from later writing a book making fun of everyone, including the Catholics. A book that would later be banned by the church but loved by many who had now embraced this whole “age of enlightenment” thing.

The age of enlightenment is something I may get into in a future post, I don’t have nearly enough room here but for those who don’t know this “age” brought the end of the power the Roman Catholic Church had in terms of governments and politics.

I tell you all of that to tell you this, people have influence over other people. To which you might say “Duh?” Of course everyone influences someone but you never really think about it, at least I know I don’t.

Right now in the lives of my two sons I have a huge influence in the way they live their lives, but I also influence my wife and she influences me. I have an influence when it comes to family, friends and coworkers. However I, like most people do not know as to how much influence we actually have.

You see, Montesquieu had influence and he knew it. Not only because of the status he inherited or the money his family had, but because he wasn’t shy about telling others what he thought.
He used everything he had to gain his influence including sacrificing his family life and his wife.

I definitely do not agree with most of his philophical opinions but when it comes to government and the power they have, he and I would agree that their power should be limited.
Because he was so vocal about it is the reason we still quote him some three hundred years later. He still has influence hundreds of years after his death.

We have influence too. The problem is we abuse it, especially those of us that call ourselves Christians. While it is true that there are a lot of voices out there who don’t want our influence when it comes to government but that doesn’t mean we let ourselves be influenced by them.

The only difference between the voices that oppose us and ours is that they are using their influence, we aren’t.
The fact of the matter is that we have as much right as they do when it comes to voicing our opinion, we just aren’t heard because they scream louder.

Our influence if used properly could change the world, nobody disagrees that it’s a mess, nobody disagrees that it needs fixing, but they do disagree with how we want to do it, and they make sure they are heard, we do not.

Maybe it’s the pacifist hiding inside each of us that says we don’t want to fight, or maybe we fool ourselves into thinking that Christians aren’t to act that way. I’m not sure but I do know that when Jesus voiced His opinions they weren’t popular. When He let the powers that be know what was going on inside His head, He wasn’t shy about it. It was what He said and the influence He had on people that upset the powers that be, namely the Roman Government and of course the Jewish authorities, Jesus was influencing people away from the strongholds of religion and He was appealing to the oppressed citizens of a tyrannical government.

So if we follow Jesus’ example then we are to use our influence to bring people to Jesus. Instead we use it to get people to like us, or like the same things as us, or to vote a certain way but for the most part the influence we have on others is being misguided, and instead we try to further our own agenda.

Even if we think we aren’t influencing someone, we are. So when I get to heaven and am called upon to give my account I will be one of the three servants Jesus talks about in Matthew 25:14. And you will be too, the only question is… which one?
Will you be the one that invested what was given to him and was able to return to his master much more than his initial investment?
Will you be the one who worked hard with the investment and was also able to return with more?
Or, will you be the one who hid away and did nothing with his master’s investment, only to return what was originally given?

According to the parable, the guy who did nothing is the guy who gets thrown out. I intend to be the first guy, hope I at least have something in common with guy number two, but certainly do not want to be the last one.

To that end, I will use whatever influential power I have to get people to see Jesus, whatever He has entrusted me with I intend to return, with interest.

I will ignore my influence no longer and I hope you’ll join me in influencing a lost and broken world and leading them to Him, in this way when we get there, He will look at who we brought with us and say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Thanks for sharing.

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