Column: Being an influencer
Commentary by Rev. Michael VandenBerg
There has been much talk lately about influence. With the Republican ticket being set, the question in the media is, “Will our governor ever be able to influence his running mate over issues where they differ?” Given the campaigns of both parties, the likelihood would seem slim for either party to have an influencer to the presidential candidate.
On the other hand, history tells us that a single convicted voice for positive change can influence the deafening cries of those around them calling for maintaining the given course ahead. In fact, it is our duty at times to stand against the tide and influence the outcome, though it means our own position may be jeopardized.
William Wilberforce stood against all of his parliamentary colleagues and ultimately turned the tide against the slave trade in Great Britain. Joan of Arc was able to influence an entire nation as a young girl to stand against the intruders that threatened a nation. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to stand against systems and authorities that repressed people of color in “the land of the free.” Isaac Newton was able to stand against the voices of science in his day and prove his theories of gravity. Thomas Edison never seemed to give up when he stood for the pursuit of truth.
In a world that seems to be tumbling out of control, how do we regain our sure footing, how do we stay strong in the face of opposition and how do we voice the truth in a world of half-truths? The answer is and always has been to stand on the side of truth no matter the cost and never stand on the sidelines in the face of wrong.
The Bible is filled with unlikely heroes who chose to do the right thing in spite of the personal costs. Esther stood up to those who would destroy an entire nation of people, David stood against a giant of a man and won, Abraham left his lifetime home and family to follow God’s direction to establish a new nation, and of course, Jesus stood up to both the Roman and Religious leaders of his day to bring God close at hand.
You too can be an influencer. I hope that not only those with political aspirations will find the strength to influence the world around them, but you and I as well.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.