Matt 14:6,8 (ESV) But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod.—Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”
Well you might just be wondering, what kind of encouraging lesson can you get out of those two verses. I myself asked God the very same question when He gave them to me. Lust in one and death in another. But then as I read and reread the story I realized just what God was trying to point out. INFLUENCE, holding ‘sway’ over someone. It is something we have, something we don’t think too often about but something we have to be very careful with.
Take the story in Matthew, when Herodias’ daughter danced before Herod (her step-dad), she didn’t just please him…she PLEASED him. The Amplified version states ‘she pleased and fascinated Herod.’ She was so good that Herod said he would give her whatever she asked. In discussing it with her mother beforehand, she asked for the head of John the Baptist. Several questions to ask about this—1 What mother, in her right mind, would use her daughter to fuel the lust of a man? and then—2 What mother, again in her right mind, would use her daughter to murder a man whom she knew was right? It’s hard to look at this story and not feel disgust at the people involved.
Yet the questions for us to ask ourselves are: How do we use our influence over other people? And/or how do the things we do and say influence those around us? Whether we realize it or not we are being watched; by our family, friends, coworkers, people we see in church, and strangers we encounter everyday. And if you have declared yourself to be a follower of Jesus Christ, the scrutiny of how you act is watched even more so. Our words, our attitudes, our actions can all be used to either help someone or hurt them. Example…you go to church—you take part in ministry—you’re a visible part of the congregation and then someone over hears you speak badly about another person. How do you think it would affect them? Or you profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ, yet when out in public (say at work, the grocery store, post office, etc.) you act the same as the person who does not have a relationship with Jesus. What kind of witness is that to a lost and dying world?
Even though each person is entirely responsible for their own salvation and walk with Christ, we are not to be stumbling blocks to others. Our relationship with Jesus should be the guiding factor in all we do, say, how we act and react…Jesus should be the ’yardstick’ with which we measure ourselves. We are only passers by on this earth. Our ultimate goal is to praise God forever. And while we are aiming for that, we also need to be very conscious of the impact and influence we have on those around us. From our children…to the stranger on the street. The old adage—do what I say not what I do—will only cause hurt and confusion. The study of the scriptures, a solid and consistent prayer life and fasting will only improve us and make our influence better. God desires for each of us to have an impact on this world…let’s start with those around us and make sure the ‘sway’ we have on others is only a positive one. Let the ‘dances’ that we choose be for the glory of God and His kingdom. Let’s show the world we are different…because they are looking for the HOPE we have already found!