The Influence of Our Lives Upon Others
Romans 14:7
For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself.…

None of us liveth to himself. The apostle, as we have seen, was here enforcing certain Christian duties, and he strengthened his exhortation by reminding his readers that they were not their own, but Christ's. But the words are capable of a wider application.

I. THE INFLUENCE WHICH ONE MAN MAY EXERCISE FOR GOOD. Many who would like to do good are sometimes disposed to say, "What use can I be in the world? What influence can my life have upon others? What good can I do to others? I am too young. I am too humble. I have no intellectual gifts. I have no opportunities such as some people have of exercising influence upon others." This is to underestimate the influence of the individual life. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the life of each of us, whether we are rich or poor, learned or unlearned, young or old, is exercising some influence upon others. It is not necessary that we should know another in order to exercise an influence upon him. Thousands of men are influenced by persons whom they never saw. The Reformation began at Cambridge University very early in the sixteenth century by Bilney, a solitary student, reading a Greek Testament with Latin translation and notes, which Erasmus had published. Bilney had never seen Erasmus, but the quiet work of Erasmus was the means of bringing Bilney to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. Bilney, again, influenced Latimer, who was one of the fathers of the English Reformation, and who suffered martyrdom for the truth. Thus the Reformation in England may be largely traced to the quiet work of Erasmus as he sat at his desk, and used his vast learning and intellect to make the Word of God more familiar to the people of his time. A young American student, more than seventy years ago, happened to read a printed sermon which had fallen into his hands. The sermon was entitled "The Star in the East," by Dr. Claudius Buchanan, and described the progress of the gospel in India, and the evidence there afforded of its Divine power. That sermon, by a man whom he had never seen, fell into the young student's soul like a spark into tinder, and in six months Adoniram Judson resolved to become a missionary to the heathen. That little printed sermon, preached in England, perhaps, with no apparent fruit, became, through God's blessing, the beginning of the great work of American foreign missions. You may not be an Erasmus or a Claudius Buchanan. But God may have as great a work for you to do as he had for them. What an influence for good Christian parents may exercise upon their children, with far-reaching results to the world! The faithful sabbath-school teacher may leaven with gospel truth young minds that may yet control the destinies of a nation. Young women, by the power of their own Christian character, may change for the better the muddy current of many a godless life. The great matter is for every one of us to live near to God, to cultivate a Christ-like character, and then our life is sure to be a blessing. You must walk with God if you would have weight with men. Personal holiness is the key to personal influence for good.

II. THE INFLUENCE WHICH ONE MAN MAY EXERCISE FOR EVIL, The wise man says, "One sinner destroyeth much good." Everyday experience will supply many illustrations of this truth. One bad man, one bad woman, will be a centre of corruption to the whole circle in which they move. One bad boy often corrupts a whole school. How terrible is the power of evil to propagate itself! How terrible is the guilt of those who have become the corrupters of others! The evil that we do has consequences far beyond the injury that we may do to ourselves.

Unto a loving mother oft
We all have sent, without a doubt,
Full many a hard and careless word,
That now we never can rub out;
For cruel words cut deeper far
Than diamond on the window-pane;
And, oft recalled in after-years,
They wound her o'er and o'er again.

"So, in our daily walk and life,
We write and do and say the thing
We never can undo nor stay
With any future sorrowing.
We carve ourselves on beating hearts!
Ah! then, how wise to pause and doubt,
To blend with love and thought our words,
Because we cannot rub them out!" The great poet of Scotland, Robert Burns, on his dying bed wished that he could have recalled some of the foolish things that he had written. But it was too late. Better far to leave the wrong undone than afterwards to regret the doing of it. "None of us liveth to himself," should be constantly before our minds as a restraining memory to keep us from evil, and an inspiring memory that will cheer us on to make the world better than we have found it. - C.H.I.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

WEB: For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself.

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