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May 27, 1991

The Power of Positive Company

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I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” PSALM 122:1
Take a moment and reflect on your closest colleagues, those people with whom you work most closely and those who know you best. It is probably a half- dozen men or women. Now think about them as people. What do you know about them? Their families? Their philosophies of life? Their views of the world?
In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, we see how the life of one person—George Bailey—changed the lives of literally everyone around him. This fictional story is born out of a profound truth—we affect others and they affect us. The people who surround us will mold and shape us. They will sway our decisions and influence the direction we take at critical junctures.
This is a two-edged sword. If your colleagues are of like mind and faith, they will lead you into righteousness, but if they hold opposing views on the central tenets of faith, the results may not be so positive.
The problem is that most of us live and work in the world (and rightly so). When we walk through dusty streets, it’s only natural that our feet get dirty and need to be washed frequently. You may feel that way about your work environment. There are places and cultures that leave us feeling soiled. So what are we to do? Should we retreat into the hills to live among people like us? Or should we just give in and start living like those around us?
The answer, of course, is neither. We must live in both worlds at once, surrounding ourselves not only with wise and trusted counselors, but also with needy seekers in search of a better way.
The world does not need our condemnation or our sponsorship of its activities. Instead, it needs to witness a thoughtful follower of Christ living and working in the world. It needs to see a person who is engaging culture—not a person who is shrinking back from it or criticizing it without thought, but someone who is looking carefully at every interaction as an insight into the hearts and minds of searching people, people who need someone to live that better way in front of them each day.

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