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February 27, 1998

Fading with Influence

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For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. JAMES 1:11
A young plant bursts through the soil in early spring. As the noonday sun and gentle evening rains feed it, it begins to grow. Stems lengthen, leaves multiply, and flowers begin to appear. Throughout the summer, the plant stands upright in beauty and grace. Then the chill of fall and the first hard freeze of winter bring its growing season to an end. It withers and dies.
We, too, are born with the promise and excitement of growing up and growing old. Like the plant, we grow tall and become beautiful. The beautiful season is not the same length for all of us, nor do we all have the same garden presence. But for the most part, we all enjoy a season of full life. And then life, like a single plant, withers and draws to a close.
Today, our lives are full of work demands, family responsibilities, and many other things that tend to keep us from becoming too reflective about our mortality. But one day we will wake up and ask, Where has life gone so fast? It seems like just yesterday I was doing . . .
James encourages us to age with grace and beauty. That includes making sure we are enjoying life now. We must not be so attached to deadlines, demands, assignments, and obligations that our lives are reduced to something to be endured rather than to be enjoyed.
We also must be careful to spread positive influence before we enter the fall season of life. As we’re standing tall in the sunlight, we must spread influence.
Look around your workplace and ask yourself the penetrating question, Am I influencing my coworkers in a positive, healthy manner?

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