I’ve got a curious question for you today, one that comes from a verse that is found in the midst of a very famous passage of scripture.

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Matthew 2:1-3

Caught the punch line? It’s in the last verse.

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Matthew 2:1-3

Now, we can easily understand why Herod would be troubled when he learned of a baby being born King of the Jews. After all, he was the reigning monarch at the time and having a child being born to rule, given the scepter of leadership right from the start of his life; would be more than a clear and present threat to his reign. Moreover, not only was this child not his own; this child came from the very people he was subjugating. So we can excuse Herod for worrying about the possibility of a revolt.

But the curious question is this; why was ‘all Jerusalem’ troubled along with him?

History shows Herod to be a tyrannical authoritarian. He supposedly had in place many security measures which were aimed at suppressing possible opposition from the Jews. It has even been suggested that Herod had in his employ, an army of secret police, whose sole function was to infiltrate the general populous and nip any sign of dissension in the bud. Think Hitler and his Gestapo.

So why was Jerusalem ‘troubled’ along with Herod at the news of a new King being born to them? Shouldn’t they be rejoicing at the possibility of their liberation? Come on, Herod wasn’t even a Jew. His power came from the Roman senate and he was expected to support the interests of his Roman patrons; making him the subjugator of the Jews. Why would the Jews be troubled over Herod’s possible deposition?

Well, as we have learned from Agent K,

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”

The herd mentality of humans is often inexplicable. When in a crowd, people tend to do things that they would never have considered doing, if they were on their own.

I mean, would you queue up in the rain for 24 hours just to buy a mass market phone on the first day of its release? I know you wouldn’t. You have better things to do with your precious time. Yet I am sure that you also know several people who did, when a certain company released their latest model not too long ago.

And that’s my point. Herd mentality is often inexplicable; and it always conforms to one model of behavior which started from the playground, ‘follow-the-leader’.

Everybody is looking at everyone else, trying to see what they are missing out on and what trends they should be following. And when ‘social leaders’ (pun intended) start to display a pattern, the rest of the masses start to follow and the phenomenon of ‘trending’ sets in. I’m sure you know what I mean. You walk into a mall and start seeing everyone wear their hair in a certain way, or choose clothing of a certain cut. It works for some, but for the majority, it just crashes and burns and you wonder why they don’t realize it; until one day, you find yourself on that bandwagon too.

But did you ever realize that you too are a trend setter? In your own circles, you too have your sphere of influence but you will never realize just who is watching you and what an impact you are having in their lives until they start coming to work dressed just like you, or wearing their hair just like you do.

Now this may seem trivial when talking about dress and hair. But what if your influence is deeper? What if you, like Herod, have the ability to trouble others when you yourself are troubled? What if your words carried weight and your actions had followers? What then?

I know what you are thinking. For those of us who are leaders of our industry, we are always very conscious of our words and actions when we are out and about. And that is great. But there are also many of us who are not leaders of industry. In fact we are not even a leader. Is this message still for you?

Beloved, this message is especially for you; for you see, it is when we are not conscious of the extent of our influence that we must be all the more careful, for we will be impacting people without knowing it, and that can be dangerous.

The fact is, we all have a God-given sphere of influence. Whether it be in the office, in the neighborhood, or even in your family; you have a role to play, you have a job to do, you have a God-given mission to accomplish;

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

So there is no way that you do not have a sphere of influence. In fact, if you feel like you don’t, I, like Paul, pray

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” Ephesians 1:17-19

Now, because we all have a role to play, because we all have a sphere of influence; what we say matters, what we do matters, because for each and every one of us, we have our own Jerusalem that gets troubled every time we are troubled. Whether this is right or wrong is not the point anymore. The fact that it is, is the most pressing reality, and one that we should be keenly aware of; because

“…there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1

The influence that you have is appointed by God, so you must be mindful of how you steward the influence that has been given to you.

You know, a long time before Jesus was born, this was said of Bethlehem;

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2

Bethlehem was indeed a small town. In fact, some historians say that when Herod gave the decree to kill all boys under the age of two, Bethlehem’s population of boys under the age of two probably numbered less than 20. Yet, our Father saw fit to say

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.” Matthew 2:6

So in similar fashion, though you may think that you are insignificant, even though you may consider yourself the Bethlehem of your circle, always remember,

“…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

You have influence. You have a following. You are trending. There are people out there who are watching you. Don’t under estimate your influence, for you have been called to do our Father’s will.

So pay attention to your surroundings; and through your actions, lead those whom our Father has placed in your care to an intimate knowledge of His love for them.

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