The Law of Influence Part 3

Short-Lived Influence – Judges 12:8-15

The three leaders who follow Jephthah—Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon—had many sons and daughters and ruled for a total of 25 years. We don’t know much about them, except that they cared more for the honor of their own names than that of Yahweh. The subsequent chapter begins by saying that once they were gone, Israel immediately did evil in God’s sight (Judg. 13:1). The influence of those judges died when they did. But why? Two reasons become obvious: diminishing vision and growing pride.

When a leader’s vision shrinks, so does his or her influence. The smaller the vision, the smaller the influence. These leaders attempted no great things for God because they saw no great things from God. Therefore, the record of each of them ends with a mere, he “died and was buried.” How sad.

The story grows even sadder when you realize that the shrunken vision of these leaders encompassed only how to further their own names. Even though these leaders trusted God in the beginning, they eventually took their eyes off of Him and believed their own press reports.

It has been well said that the measure of spiritual maturity is the length of time a person can wait between achieving ministry success and being recognized for it. The moment we seek self-promotion; we forget about seeking God.

Samuel’s Influence – 1 Samuel 7:1-17

It didn’t take long for the Israelites to get a taste of the leadership of their new judge and prophet, Samuel. The prophet’s influence grew daily. When the people trusted him, they were delivered from the Philistines, saw the ark returned to their land, and enjoyed peace in the land. He became by far the most influential leader of his day.

But how did he gain such influence? What made everyone listen to him? At least three indispensable qualities gained him the influence he won:

  1. Competence
    God blessed Samuel with many gifts. He heard from the Lord, he could see the future unfold, and he wisely knew what to do in crisis. His abilities provided one reason that everyone listened to him.
  2. Character
    Unlike Eli, Samuel exuded integrity and honestly faced each area of his life. People trusted him and knew that he had Israel’s best interests in mind. They considered Samuel utterly trustworthy and depended upon him to intercede for them with God.
  3. Connection
    Samuel knew how to connect with people; he spoke their language. He expressed compassion for their predicaments and brought courage to their pursuits.

Fortunately for us, the formula for Samuel’s success still works today:

Competence + Character + Connection = Influence

Join me next time for The Law of Influence Part 4.