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the influentials


by Norma Jackson Goldman

RECENTLY A BOOK TITLED, THE INFLUENTIALS became a best seller among sales and marketing professionals. The book described the impact a handful of people have on the buying habits and choices of millions of Americans. However, you too are influential. Many people within your circle of friends, family, business and social acquaintances, and fellow Christians observe your attitudes, goals, and behaviors. They watch you intently, all the while making personal judgments and decisions, weighing your behavior against your professed goals and commitments.

Among your audience, none are more important than the children in your life (even adult children) because they will either emulate or reject your behavior. Your influence on their lives is of paramount importance. Once attitudes and behaviors are learned, they are not easily changed. Conduct the following “self test” to see how well you are doing in the influence arena. Start by examining the way you influence others in money management. Mark the following statements “true” or “false:”


____ My life demonstrates my firm belief that God owns everything: I am simply a manager of God’s resources.

____ My happiness does not depend on how much money I have, how big my house is, or how many “things” I have.

____ After God, my family comes before anything else in my life, including my work.


____ My number one goal is to honor God in every area of my life, including finances.

____ I am working toward financial freedom and a debt-free retirement.

____ I desire to save and plan for the future, while living joyfully in the present.

____ I desire to follow God’s leadership in giving, saving, spending and lending.


____ I teach God’s money management principles to my children through lifestyle and instruction.

____ I teach my children about priorities by planning ahead, saving for the future and giving regularly and generously to those who are in need.

____ I involve my family in giving to my church and local charities.

____ I show my gratitude for God’s generosity by taking good care of all that has been entrusted to me, and by teaching my children to do the same.

____ I demonstrate my trust in God by tithing and giving regularly to causes that honor God.

While you may have marked more statements “false” than “true,” the point is this: You made an honest assessment of your attitudes, goals, and behaviors today. Pause and thank God for those statements marked “true.” Ask specifically for His help on those marked “false.” As you work toward aligning your influence with God’s plan for your life, your children will learn to practice the same habits they see in you. In the process, you are teaching them how to make godly choices, to establish good habits and to develop priorities that match God’s.

Early in my child-raising years, I learned a valuable lesson. My 5-year old son announced to our pastor that our family was not giving anything at all to God. The pastor, somewhat taken aback, disagreed saying, “Oh, Wes, I’m sure your parents give.” “They don’t,” he said flatly. After some discussion, Wes finally said, “Well, they do write checks, but they don’t give any money!” After that, we made it a practice to cash a check, placing cash in each family member’s offering envelope before going to church. As we did this, we were able to discuss our beliefs, our priorities, our commitment to God and a lost world with Wes and his sisters.

You are an influential. Who are you influencing today?

Former magazine editor Norma Jackson Goldman enjoys a free-lance career in her retirement. She lives in Nashville, TN.








©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists