Is It An Itch For Influence, Or The Will To Contribute?

I confess that over the course of my life, I have experienced great ambivalence, swirls of mixed thoughts and emotions regarding the subject of being influential to others.

I recall attending Promise Keepers conferences in the 1990’s and 2000’s.  One of the things they pointed out was the great power of relationships.  For example, in the New Testament, the young man Timothy (who went on to become Bishop Timothy and St. Timothy) had the apostle Paul as a mentor.  Paul and Barnabas could be said to be colleagues, allies, partners.  And Paul had Timothy as a protege.  The Promise Keepers taught that, other things being equal, it was a good thing for a Christian man to have a mentor, an ally, and a protege.  I had no snappy comeback for this on scriptural grounds.  But when I looked at my life, and the difficulties I had experienced, I had a hard time believing that anyone would want to be like me, or follow in my footsteps.

I started blogging in 2003, in the hopes of sharing some of the things I learned from reading the Bible, and some of the things I was learning from my experience as a college professor.  I confess that I was a sucker for measures of influence in the blogosphere, visits, comments, links, trackbacks, permalinks, being included in people’s blogrolls.

Twitter not only has its own metrics for influence (retweets, favorites, follows, etc.), but it allows third parties to slice and dice the data generated by Twitter interactions to create their own metrics for influence (like Tweet Grader and Klout).  I’m not quite as much a sucker for Twitter influence metrics as I was for blogosphere influence metrics, but I wonder if I’m being helpful.

On some days, I consider my desire for influence as an itch, something of which I have yet to be cleansed of by my practice of Steps to Knowledge.  On the other hand, maybe it’s a good thing to aspire to be a good influence, maybe it’s a godly thing to aspire to be a godly influence.  There are any number of portions of Steps to Knowledge which talk about undergoing preparation to be of service, a contributor, in the future.  This seems to be part of mine.


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1 thought on “Is It An Itch For Influence, Or The Will To Contribute?

  1. My belief, for what it is worth, is that you are making a very valuable contribution, particularly since you are able to express yourself in such a candid, straightforward, no-fuss, and easy-to-understand way. Such plain and rational talk is very appealing and, to my understanding, gives a very clear message. Thank you!

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