Men of Influence
Difficulties are God’s errands and trainers, and only through them can one come to fullness of manhood.” Henry Ward Beecher
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
I am directionally challenged. Left and right do not come naturally to me, and don’t even think about north, south, east and west. I know as a fact that Washington, D.C. is on the East Coast and San Francisco is on the West Coast, but when I am standing in my backyard, don’t start giving me directions about driving four blocks east and then going three blocks north. Trust me. I would get lost. The GPS in my car has been a completely revolutionary lifesaver. It relieves my anxiety as long as I pay attention to its voice.
Following proper instruction is essential for a successful outcome whether driving in unfamiliar territory or juggling two remotes in search of a Netflix movie. It was the act of a loving eternal Father, Creator God, to provide an instruction manual for our journey through this world. When I look around our cultural landscape today and see the chaos and discord on so many fronts, I don’t think it is an oversimplification at all to point out that we have often ignored His instructions to our own peril.
My Bible study is reading the Book of Proverbs this summer. The practical wisdom in chapter after chapter has startled me and reminded me all over again of God’s timelessness as well as His timeliness. As relevant as this morning’s newspaper are Solomon’s Proverbs, and they will be just as relevant 100 years from now when no one remembers the names of the front page newsmakers in today’s Wall Street Journal.
I loved the way my NIV Study Bible said this in the Proverbs’ introductory notes: “In this age of information, knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce. Wisdom means far more than simply knowing a lot. It is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life…Faith in God should be the controlling principle for your understanding of the world, your attitudes, and your actions.”
And I might add – for those who live that way – their circle of influence is wide because they stand out in stark contrast to the world’s status quo.
Our cover story on Sam Kelly is likely one you will read more than once simply because you can’t take it all in if you are in a hurry! If you mention Sam Kelly’s name in these parts, the first two comments are always the same. People either mention his legal expertise first and his authentic Christian walk second, or they mention the authentic Christian walk first and his legal expertise second. His steadfastness in the face of overwhelming loss left an indelible impression on hundreds, if not thousands, when his only son died in a tragic automobile accident in 2011. Nobody can “pretend” his way through such a completely devastating tragedy. The Sunday morning words have continued to be the Thursday afternoon reality— he walks his talk day in, day out. Sam is the same Sam all the time.
And do not miss the Lagniappe column, either. I had asked Ken Wilbanks, father of Mason, one of the three outstanding young men who died in the accident on the same October morning, for a few thoughts. Those “few thoughts” were far too profound and fresh for any editor’s pen to alter.
There is, however, a lot to smile about in this issue. We have looked for a few wise men here in Mississippi Christian Living’s Annual Man Issue. I have loved gathering these stories and getting these guys to put words to the heart issues of priorities, relationships, and the way their faith in God impacts their every day. These are men of influence, and they are seeking to serve the Lord in the place He has assigned to them.
Consider this MCL’s equivalent of Time magazine’s 2018 List of Most Influential People!
I don’t think you will be disappointed! You might even get inspired!