The Five “W’s” of Influence
By Tom Moore
One of the best ways for anyone to fully grasp and appreciate a word, an idea, or an event is to use the five “W’s” of journalism: what, who, when, were, and why.
When Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mt. 5:14-16), He was speaking of our influence. Influence is a very integral part of a Christian’s life, and this can be clearly seen by using this great tool of journalism.
The WHAT of influence. Influence is the power one has in affecting a person or an event. We through our actions and words WILL affect others to do this or that, to say this or that, or to think this or that. From a scriptural point of view, each Christian has the power to influence others to do good or evil. Whether we influence for good or evil depends on how we live. Influence is a powerful force we use to move others in one direction or another. Most often this powerful force is affecting others unknown to us. “Ye are the LIGHT [the “what”] of the world” (Mt. 5:14).
The WHO of influence. Who do we affect through our influence? The ones we have the most influence over are our immediate family. Our children watch us like a hawk, they watch our every move, and file in memory our every move. Children are great imitators of their parents – which show the powerful influence parents possess. Also, by what we do (or, fail to do) and say (or, fail to say) we affect the lives of our neighbors, kinfolk, fellow Christians, and most people we come in contact with on a daily basis. As adults we need to be keenly aware of all the little ones in our local congregations who may be looking to us for examples in Christian living. What kind of example are you providing them? “Ye are the light of the WORLD [the “who”]” (Mt. 4:14).
The WHEN of influence. When do we affect people through our influence? We may have an opportunity at almost any moment. Many times, if not most, we are influencing others without our knowledge. The “when” of influence may come at most any time – when we come in contact with someone, or even when someone hears of our actions. The possibility of influence is ever present. “Ye are the light of the world. A city SET ON A HILL CAN NOT BE HID [the “when”]” (Mt. 5:14).
The WHERE of influence. Where might we be influential? Anywhere! We may be influencing others in the work place, at home, at the ball game, in school, in the car, in the store, or in the worship assembly. Where ever we go our influence follows. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candle stick; and it giveth light unto ALL THE HOUSE [the“where”]” (Mt. 5:15).
The WHY of influence. Why is our influence so important? It is important because many will be saved or lost as a result of our influence. Jesus said, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt. 18:6). It is easy to see why influence is vitally important. “There let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and GLORY YOUR FATHER [the “why”] which is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).