Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Stewardship of Influence and Affluence, Part 2

Continuing in communicating the message that Rick Warren shared last week on being good stewards of what God gave you, here is part 2. This one has to do with the influence side of of the conversation. What does God want you to do with the influence you have? Warren shares that as a farm boy from a town of 500 people, he was never a big deal. When The Purpose Driven Life became a best seller, however, Warren became an celebrity overight, which he didn't want. He shares that he at first would turn down the interviews that he would be offered by national news magazines and not accept the speaking invitations he would get from major universities, because he did not want to be a celebrity. But God led him to search the scriptures for wisdom on this issue of his new found influence. This is what he found.

Warren comments on Psalm 72, a Psalm of Solomon. At the time, Solomon was the wisest, richest, most powerful man in the world. Yet, he essentially says in Psalm 72 that he wants more power. It becomes clear, though, shortly into the Psalm, why Solomon wants the power. It is so he can more effectively "judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice," (vs 2) and "defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy" (vs 4). In the end, Warren concludes that "The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence." Orphans. Widows. The poor. The broken. He began to do everything he could to be a voice for this very group.

If you have influence, use it. Put your influence to work for the Kingdom of God. Speak up for those who have no voice. Defend the afflicted with your power. I communicate this message regularly to the students that I pastor. Some of them are very popular, and I regularly encourage them to use their popularity to include and befriend those who are not included and have no friends. I believe that by and large we do a poor job of this as Christains. If Jesus lived today, he would be much more concerned with the broken and downtrodden than we are in our churches.

So, what do you think of Warren's definition and analysis of influence? The next part will talk about the 5 Global Giants that Rick Warren is dedicating his life to slaying. Until then, comment on influence in the Bible and in our culture.


Joel Maners said...

Great thought by Warren. But in all honesty, I just don't trust myself that much.I don't think anyone's motives are completely pure. I'm sure that there is some part of Rick that just loves the celebrity. I hope he has a close knit circle of brothers who advise him.

Nick said...

I'm not sure if liking or disliking being a celebrity is important, but what do you do with the influence.

You make a great point though about accountability. In a situation like that, accountability is so important. You need a wife, a friend, a minister etc. all to do their part to hold you accountable.

Lori said...

I really enjoyed this talk by Rick Warren - I've watched it twice and found myself liking him more each time.

Especially about Christians caring about AIDs, poverty and injustice. I think a call to social action in the church is much needed and hearing that is very encouraging. We've all been listening to that separation of church and state garbage too long.

Too often Christians believe they should be "hands off" in terms of the public sector. In my mind, that should be an integral part of our mission in the world.