God created women to be influencers. We don’t have to look any further than the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter 3 to see how Eve influenced her husband to commit the first sin.
We use our influence every single day of our lives, whether we realize it or not. We either influence for good or for not so good. For the positive or for the negative. Our influence sets an example as to whether we are spirit led or led by our flesh.
We set the tone in our homes, in our marriages, with our children, in our workplaces, etc. by our influence. We just have a choice as to what kind of influence we will use.
NEVER underestimate the power of your God-given influence!
There’s a verse in Romans that leapt out as me when I read it that speaks to the power of the influence of an unnamed, uncelebrated woman. In this verse, the apostle Paul is sending his greetings to the Christians in Rome, preparing them for his coming visit.
“Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and HIS MOTHER, WHO HAS BEEN LIKE A MOTHER TO ME TOO.” (Romans 16:13 NIV)
Here is an unnamed woman that meant so much to Paul, he included her in his greeting and even went on to say that this woman had been like a mother to him.
I think Paul’s words of greeting to her are so beautiful, so honoring and so intentional. He didn’t have to add that phrase after he greeted Rufus, but he did. Because of the influence she had on Paul’s life, this precious mother is recognized in the Holy Scriptures.
I wonder why this woman, this mother, meant so much to Paul? Scriptures don’t tell us much about Paul’s family except that his father was a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), and Paul’s sister and her son are mentioned in Acts 23:16. But nothing else in scripture tells us about Paul’s family, except that he was unmarried and without children (I Cor. 7:8).
I am speculating now, but I wonder if Paul’s own mother and father rejected him after his radical conversion to Christ? I wonder, if after Paul’s prestigious upbringing (see Phil. 3:5 for a list of his accomplishments) as a Pharisee, that once Paul turned from persecuting Christians to becoming a Christian himself, his parents no longer associated with him? Again, this is pure speculation on my part, but I could certainly see this happening.
And so in Romans 16, he sends his greetings to this unnamed woman who had become to Paul “like his own mother.”
One of the many things I LOVE about south Louisiana is its people. The greatest people in the world reside in south Louisiana! (I know I am hugely biased!) People here treat you like one of their own family members; if you need a place to stay, food to eat, a family to be welcomed into… look no further than south Louisiana!
When I think of Rufus’ mother and what she meant to Paul, I think of the precious people of our great state. Paul, who after his radical conversion to Christianity, wrote two-thirds of the New Testament and became the most influential man (other that Jesus Himself) in the New Testament and in church history. Did this unnamed mother have any idea who she had taken in as one of her own? Did she had any idea the heights that God would bring Paul? Did she know that thousands of years later, we would still be reading the writings of her “adopted” son? And that those writings/letters would one day be included in the Holy Bible as the inspired Word of God?
Just a woman. Just a mama. Just someone who saw a young man who needed a mother in his life and she stepped up and influenced him in such a way that we are even talking about it today.
NEVER EVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR INFLUENCE!
There are young men and women, young mothers, college students, brand new Christians, and even seasoned Christians who deeply desire to be “taken in” and loved by someone, as if they were family. Welcomed in by a “mother” who loves God not only with her words but with her actions. Drawn close by a “mother” that may not be their physical mother but most certainly will fill the role as a “spiritual” mother in that person’s life. Someone who can lead by example as to what it looks like to walk with God, how to love her family, and how to influence for the GOOD in a world that is desperate for the GOOD that is out there!
So, dear friend… who in your world needs YOU? Who needs YOUR Godly influence? Your heart for people, your desire to “take in” those who others have pushed out? Those who just need a mama to cook a meal for them and tell them that everything is going to be ok?
There are many people in this world that God desires to use in a great way and just maybe your/our role is to be the “mothers” to this generation… to a generation that needs acceptance, not rejection, in the most desperate way.
“And I greet his (Rufus’) mother, WHO HAS BEEN LIKE A MOTHER TO ME.” Paul’s words are so heartfelt and so very beautiful.
How many people are waiting to call you the woman “who has been like a mother to me”?
Begin to open your eyes and look around you. I promise you, they are already in your life, just waiting for you to recognize them as they are starving for the insight, wisdom, love, forgiveness and grace that you have to offer.
Our world needs women of Godly influence more now than ever before in history!
Will you become one of those women?