FORMED BY INFLUENCE
By DANNY MINTON
We all have people who have influenced us in our lives. Maybe it was the lady who gathered the neighborhood kids in her home to tell them Bible stories. It could have been a coach that worked with us day in and day out. Then again, maybe it was your mom or dad or grandparent who showed you how to live through the tough parts of life.
I’ve had several who have had an impact on my life in various ways. As I was rifling through my notes, I came across a poem written by a man who was a major influence on how I preach and write. Very few of you who read this will know this man, but those who know him will probably admit he had some influence on their lives as well. He preached in Plano when it was a small community of less than 10,000 residents.
He helped me with my first sermon and performed our wedding ceremony. Alan Sowders and his wife Shirley were a gift to everyone who knew them. Alan passed a couple of years ago, but left a great influence on so many. Here is the poem he wrote, but I guarantee it describes someone who was his opposite.
RELIGION OF A HEAVY WAIT
By ALAN SOWDERS
I’d love to go to Heaven, Lord
If I could work it in,
You see; I’m far too busy Lord
To even battle sin.
But I’ve promised myself I’ll serve you, Lord,
If easy it can be made,
But should it be inconvenient Lord,
I can’t make it, I’m afraid.
I go to church once weekly Lord
To do more is a strain.
I just can’t seem to get up Lord,
Missed sleep sure gives me pain.
When I get rested up Lord
A change in me you’ll see;
But until I get rested, Lord,
Don’t let folks bother me.
The preacher bellows loudly, Lord
So sleepy I barely hear.
He said, “Seek ye first the kingdom” Lord;
That got thru loud and clear.
But surely, you didn’t mean it, Lord
To put folks out that way?
I know you’re concerned with my ease dear Lord
Have ‘em blow softly judgment day.
And If I rise slowly judgment morn
From the long sleep of the dead,
Tell the angels to gently shake me, Lord,
Then I’ll yawn as I get out of bed.
Please don’t take too long with judgin’ Lord,
It is so tiring you see
I can hardly wait ‘till Heaven Lord,
So I can REST with thee.
(If this chances to disturb you over much, take another sleeping pill and drift on off to sleep.)
To all of you reading this, take time to sit down and remember those who have been an influence in your life, especially those who have formed your spiritual journey. Then say a little prayer thanking God for sending them your way. Maybe you have an Alan in your life as well.
Secondly, ask yourself, “What kind of influence am I on those in my life? Will they look back and be glad that I was a part of their journey?” Remember, we are an influence in some way with every person we meet. We should all wake up and use our lives to influence others to greater things for the Lord.
This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ