Circle of Influence

Before retiring in 2016, I worked as a Supervisor in a Program for delinquent teens. The last ten years of that time, my position included hiring Staff, tracking and scheduling trainings, resolving grievances submitted by the kids, and posting the weekly staff schedule for a workforce of 65 to 70 people.  Each year, I was given a budget of how many hours I was allowed to schedule for each of our Staff each week. One day, several years before I retired, the Director of the Program asked me to come to his office. He said that recently, the number of hours our Staff were working was often exceeding our budgeted hourly allowance for labor and asked for my help. I told him that I always scheduled our Staff within the number of hours I had been given, but that my position didn’t allow me to have control over the number of hours people actually worked. I told him the Floor Supervisors were responsible for that, and that I couldn’t tell them what to do since their positions were parallel to mine. His reply was, “I’m not asking you to. All I’m asking you to do is affect your circle of influence.” Following this, I pondered what the Director had said, and then began to mention the number of hours our Staff were working whenever possible in a non-threatening way, just bringing awareness to it, and as I watched, our labor numbers began to come into line with our budget.
In Matthew 16:18 (NLT), Jesus, talking to one of His disciples named Peter, said this: “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” The word Jesus used for church was a word known in Jewish culture called “Ekklesia”. Ekklesia was actually a secular word, meaning a social impact group, with implications of affecting Society, all the way up to and including influencing Government. That’s what we, the Church, are to be. Each of us has a circle of influence given to us by God. We can’t force our Society to change, but if each one of us works to affect his or her circle of influence, we will see the effects of our collective work on Society. One Pastor put it this way. “Go and preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” What we do, affects others. So, who are those in your circle of influence that you can affect for the Kingdom God?