All of us have an influence on others, whether it be in our homes, at our churches, or at work.
Perhaps we didn’t ask to be their role models, but we have been placed in that position. And if so, we have a responsibility, not only to them, but before God to live up to that position.
When the Corinthians heard about the plight of the poor in Jerusalem, they were quite eager to give and told Paul as much. Paul was so pleased with their generous hearts that he shared the news about them with the Macedonians. That in turn inspired the Macedonians to give. Now on returning to Corinth, it seems that some of the Macedonians were thinking about coming back with Paul. And a thought came to Paul: “I hope the Corinthians are ready. What if they’re not?”
And so he sent this letter ahead of time to encourage them to get their gift ready, just as they had promised. For as Paul noted,
If any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we–not to say anything about you–would be ashamed of having been so confident. (4)
Though they may not have planned to, the Corinthians’ zeal to give had a big influence on the Macedonians, inspiring them to give generously. And if the Corinthians had failed to do as they had promised, it would have had a devastating effect on the Macedonians because those they had looked up to had so utterly disappointed them.
None of us are perfect. We all fail. And certainly, no one should so place you or anyone else on such a pedestal that if you fall, their faith falls as well.
But that said, it happens. Jesus recognized as much. And so he said,
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! (Matthew 18:6-7)
So let us be careful. Remember that what you do impacts those who look up to you. By God’s grace, let us be people that inspire others to follow God, not to fall away from him because of their disappointment in us.