I’ve continued meditating on Mark this month, and noticed something interesting in chapter 6. Jesus was rejected in Nazareth–He makes the famous prophet-without-honor comment here–and, as a result, “He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them” (v. 5). Just a few verses later, Mark recounts the tragic story of John the Baptist’s murder. Herod foolishly promises to give Herodias’ daughter “Whatever you ask of me…” (v. 23). When she–at her mother’s behest–asks for John’s head on a platter, Herod is forced to honor his promise. Why? “…because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests” (v.26).
Two very different men. Two very different stories. The same result. Because of someone else’s actions, one man was prevented from doing good and another was impelled to do evil.
Influence. We all use it–sometimes knowingly, sometimes unwittingly.
Oh, Father…in what way are my actions preventing someone from doing good? Is my influence leading someone to do wrong? Help me be ever mindful of the influence I have on others–my family, my friends, my colleagues, and my students. How do my actions and my words influence the person behind me at the grocery store or the salesperson at the mall? Does my behavior honor You in my home, my office, my daily life? Help me to “open my mouth in wisdom” and let “the teaching of kindness [be on my] tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). Let me join King David in Psalm 40, when he says, “I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O Lord, Thou knowest. I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9-10).
Going through life blithely unaware of the influence we have–for both good and evil–does not bring You glory. Being intentional does. Let me use my powers for good, Father.