Who’s Your ____?

(Fill in the blank)

Fill in the blankI was thinking about people who have meant a lot to me through the years. While some of them are relatives, many more are people who have had influence on and in my life. Some are still alive and kicking, while many of them have passed on and only their memories remain.

These are people who have pointed me into better directions, shown me a better way to live and work, and some have been like spiritual parents and siblings. Some have simply been those I know only from afar, and maybe I’ve never spoken to them, nor they to me directly.

A long time friend from teen years noted that within in me and my brother, Ken, she could see the influence of the pastor of our youth, James Kilgore. Since she’s around my brother so much more, I’m sure she see’s the connection in him more (!), but I was pleased to have the notation also. 

The surprising thing about this list that’s running through my mind is that few of them have any clue their connection. Nor would I want them to. They have their lives to lead and I want to simply enjoy the connection silently. Yet, each of them have their own influencers and are probably people we do not even know about.

Even though my list might be lengthy, there is something to be said about those who are the strongest influencers in my life. Since it’s my personal list I will not share it with you, but I suspect they know who they are. Blessings to each of them.

Here’s my thought for the day, and it’s a complex, yet simple, idea of the connections we have with each other.

Family TreeIf we could trace the roots of influencers from one person and generation to the next, where might they lead? Take my dad for a moment. I know how much he influenced me through life, however, who influenced him? I have no clue.

Family Tree NestedSome of my good friends who are influencers, same thing, I have no clue who are their influencers. What might be a simple diagram most often winds up looking like the honeycomb of an ant mound with all the tunnels and rooms diagonally pitching one way or another.

Still, the common thread between most of those who I count as an influencer is the same thing I look for in my personal influencers. A Spiritual Thread. Something that spins through their lives and leads them down the halls of time with a God connection that is indelible.

Spiritual people look for spiritual people, just like a seller looks for a buyer.

This is what the Apostle Paul was doing when he found Timothy (Acts 16:1-3). Some suggest he was looking for another helper as he as found in Mark, the writer of the gospel book. Timothy began traveling with Paul and became his protege. Later in life, Paul would send Timothy to various cities and countries as an extension of himself.

We find that Timothy traveled with Silas (Acts 17:15), Erastus (Acts 19:22), Silvanus (2 Corinthians 1:19),

Paul gave high marks to others about Timothy:

  • A brother (2 Corinthians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, Philemon 1:1, Hebrews 13:23)
  • Proven Worth (Philippians 2:22)
  • Coworker (1 Thessalonias 3:2)
  • True Child in the Faith (1 Timothy 1:2, 1:18, 2 Timothy 1:2)

Take note of this: Not only was Timothy like a child to him, he was also a co-worker and a brother. This lets me know that connections between influencers and influenced are fluid. Growing and adapting as life allows them to, a child can become like a co-worker and brother.

In the midst of all of this we do not find any writings of Timothy whereby we may learn from him who influenced him besides Paul, and who he became an influencer to. Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica, Corinth, and most probably Philippi, so I suspect there are many who would count Timothy as an influence. Then, who did they in turn influence themselves?

We often see this same kind of connection in the business world. Some up and coming young person is found to be desirable for future potential, so they are brought into an inner circle of training and blessing. Give time to the story and we see them growing and becoming something special in their own right – but they always have that connection back to the root source of their potential.

Quick thought for you, dear reader, who influenced you? And, more importantly, who are you influencing right now?