NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Forbes magazine ranked German Chancellor Angela Merkel the most powerful woman in the world for the second year in a row in the annual list dominated by politicians, businesswomen and media figures.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton placed second, followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, making the top three spots unchanged from last year.
The list named women involved in policymaking, entertainment, technology and nonprofit organizations, among other fields. They were ranked according to influence, the amount of money they control or earn, and media presence.
One of the qualities that Forbes magazine targeted in choosing the most powerful woman in the world was influence. Influence is defined as: 1. Effect on something: to have an effect on somebody that helps to determine that person’s actions, behavior, or way of thinking 2. Power to sway: the power that somebody has to affect other people’s thinking or actions by means of argument, example, or force of personality 3. Special advantage: the power or authority that comes from wealth, social status, or position. 4. Somebody who can sway another: somebody or something able to affect the course of events or somebody’s thinking or action. By definition, it appears that Forbes chose an appropriate quality to measure someone of power.
It would be fair to say that none of us will ever make Forbes list for most powerful woman or man. As Christians, our power and influence can be even greater and farther reaching than any of the women listed in the article. Let’s take a look at the points listed in our definition and how they apply to our Christian influence.
Matthew 5:13-16 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (NKJV)
In our scripture selection, Jesus states that his followers are both salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt is used both as a preservative and a flavor enhancer. Pure salt cannot lose it’s lose its flavor or its effectiveness. During Jesus day the salt that was taken from the Dead Sea was contaminated with impurities which created a flat taste and ineffective preservative. This ineffective salt was thrown to ground and trampled underfoot. Light has an amazing ability to drive out darkness. When light comes into a dark area then darkness must retreat. Jesus also gives an implied warning about covering up this light. A light that is covered has no influence upon its surrounding environment.
Being Christians that are the salt and light of the world should by definition make us the most influential people in the world. People of salt and light have the ability to effect change on the people around them. We also have a special advantage that comes through the authority of our real identity and the power of the Holy Spirit. We have the ability to sway others away from the darkness of sin by being the barer of His light.
If we are so powerful and influential then what happened? Our salt has lost its flavor and no longer preserves God’s truth. We seek to please men rather than desiring our “good works to glorify God”. We have compromised God’s word and allowed impurities into our lives. We view the soft core pornography of network TV programming and no longer view it as impurity. We harbor resentments and protect our idols of self-indulgence. We cover the light of our Christ under the “basket” of fear. We fear that walking in the light may offend the people that live in darkness and we will be called intolerant or extremists. When our salt is impure and our light covered by fear then we look no different than the rest of the world. There has not been a major revival in this country in many years. That revival can begin today with you. Ask God to examine your hearts and minds for the impurities that make your salt ineffective. Ask him to remove the walls of fear that keep His light hidden from the world. Over 2000 years ago, Jesus took 11 men of non-influential background and status and changed the world forever. That was influence and power is still alive today. Will you be one of those people of influence? Will you let his light shine before men today? My hope and prayer is that you will be willing.