Look at the following texts. What do they tell us about these leaders and their influence over the people they ruled?
It is a sobering thought to many of us who hold positions of leadership in any capacity that our leadership has the potential to bring people down or up spiritually. And, in all the cases here, the effect was devastatingly negative.
More specifically, our character and dedication to Christ make a difference to those with whom we interact. Spiritual leaders influence others, either toward God if they themselves seek God, or toward evil if they do not.
In contrast to what we have seen today, the fact that Ezra and Nehemiah had a strong relationship with God is undeniable. The amount of fasting and praying that is recorded in these books about Ezra and Nehemiah exceeds what the Bible reports for other great leaders. The nation was walking with God under their leadership, even if everything wasn’t perfect. Their direction in life was toward God. On the other hand, the fact that there were those who were not impacted or changed by the influences of Ezra and Nehemiah testifies that no one else’s faith but our own ultimately makes the difference for us. After all, look at the people who had the chance to see Jesus in the flesh, to hear Him preach, and even to witness or hear about His miracles, and yet who in the end rejected Him. Yes, we have a role to play, whatever our position in life is, and we can be an influence for good or evil. But in the end, each person will have to answer for himself or herself before God.
Think about the people in your own sphere of influence. What are ways you could improve your influence?