[After fourteen days in the storm, the ship carrying Paul was in peril of breaking up on the rocks of the shoreline.] Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship. But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, "You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard." So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away.
— Acts 27:30-32 NLT
Once again, remember that the apostle Paul is a prisoner on board a ship bound for Rome; yet his influence over Julius, the Roman commanding officer, and the captain of the ship is amazing. No matter how difficult or dangerous the situation, God will use our faithfulness, character, and compassion to influence others. We may not have the same level of influence that Paul had, but our influence matters. We are called to be salt in a world of decay and light in a world of darkness.* Who we are and what we do matter greatly in troubled times!
Father in heaven, I confess that I sometimes doubt that my life and my influence matter very much in our messed-up world. I feel that my personal and private choices don't make much difference to anyone other than myself. I ask for the Holy Spirit's help to see the impact faithful lovingkindness, righteous character, and gracious compassion can have on others. As the Holy Spirit helps me become more like Jesus in these areas, please open my eyes to the redemptive influence my life can have on others. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.