THE WORD: A powerful, silent, personal influence

“The Magpie” (1868) is a painting by Claude Monet which is now in the collection of the Musee d’Orsay, Paris. The painting is one of the first examples of Monet’s use of colored shadows, a technique associated with the Impressionist movement. (Public Domain).  

There is a powerful, silent, personal influence, like a shadow, which emanates from everyone — and this influence is always leaving results wherever it touches another person. You cannot live a day — and not touch some other life with this influence. Wherever you go, your shadow falls on others — and they are either better or worse for your presence.

Our influence depends upon what we are — more than upon what we do. It is by living a beautiful life, that we bless the world. I do not underestimate good works. Good deeds must characterize every true life. But if your life itself is noble, beautiful, holy, Christlike, one that is itself a blessing and an inspiration — then the worth of your influence is multiplied many times.

There is not a Christian who cannot preach sermons every day, at home and among neighbors and friends most eloquently — by the beauty of holiness in his or her own everyday life. Wherever a Christian goes — his life ought to be an inspiration. Our silent influence ought to touch other lives with blessing. People ought to feel stronger, happier, and more uplifted — after meeting us. Our very faces ought to shed light, shining like holy lamps into sad, weary hearts. Our lives ought to be blessings to repair human sorrow and need all around us. 


J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.