The world says that to be influential, you have to be powerful. You have to be loud, and probably wealthy. You should also wear nice clothes, drive a shiny new car, and have lots and lots of stuff. Influence is reserved for an elite few.
But God says something else: Influence is available to anyone in any walk of life. It’s earned through persistence and wisdom. It comes when you honor God in whatever He’s given you, whether that’s very little or a whole lot. And it comes to those who don’t necessarily go looking for it. In other words, influence is the result of biblical stewardship—managing God’s blessings, God’s way, for God’s glory.
Take Joseph, the son of Jacob. The Bible tells us he went through all kinds of trials. His brothers considered killing him but sold him as a slave instead. In Egypt, he was falsely accused and thrown in prison. Even when he thought he had a break, it fell through when Pharaoh’s butler forgot about him.
The poor guy really suffered, and none of it was even his fault! During those years of trials, he definitely wasn’t one of the elite few. But God still gave Joseph influence because Joseph was faithful in his stewardship. He used what God gave him for God’s glory—every chance he got.
Genesis 49:23-25 (NIV) describes God’s blessing of Joseph this way:
“With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you.”
See, Joseph was a wise man. He remained faithful to God, regardless of his circumstances, and God rewarded him with increased leadership and more influence.
As a slave to Potiphar, Joseph was a hardworking and loyal administrator. So Potiphar put him in charge of the whole house.
When Joseph wrongly went to prison, he made the best of his circumstances and caught the attention of the prison guard, who put him in charge of all the other prisoners.
Joseph also interpreted dreams—including those of Pharaoh, which helped save the people of Egypt during famine. Pharaoh made Joseph head of state.
Eventually, Joseph became the most influential person in his world. But that influence didn’t come without years of Joseph earning influence first as a slave and a prisoner.
Even during those times, when some people might have grown angry or hopeless, Joseph continued to work hard, help others and respect authority. He was an excellent steward of whatever came his way. As a result, God continued to trust Joseph with more.
Joseph may have lived thousands of years ago, but the stewardship principles he modeled still matter today. You can influence others at your job, in your town, or among your family and friends, even if you don’t fit the world’s criteria for an influential leader.
God calls us to be like Joseph. He expects us to steward His blessings through all of life’s ups and downs, remaining faithful to Him through every circumstance. He wants us to lead by example.
Because that’s how you become a person of influence.