A source unknown to me once said, "No man is an island unto himself." I think, no matter who said it, that is right. God created us social beings with the ability and need to interact with others.

When Jesus called His disciples He said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). In the sermon on the mount Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth...You are the light of the world" (Matt. 7:13,14). In Mk. 16:15 Jesus commanded, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." In each of these passages Jesus leaves little doubt that His disciples are to influence men.

I think we are more than a little shy about that. I think we are sometimes afraid to share our convictions because we might find ourselves disagreeing. By the way, who said that disagreeing was necessarily and always a bad thing? Difference can and should lead to honest and sincere investigation and investigation to truth and truth is the solution to problems and the resolution of differences. Well, I like to have sidetracked myself there. Let's get back to my original point and focus of this article...

Jesus wants His disciples to influence men. I like the illustration of a navigator here. I believe a disciple of Jesus, as in influencer of men, should be a navigator. A navigator does at least five things:

1. A Navigator Identifies The Destination: -- He's the guy that takes you from where you are to where you want to be. Paul observed that "our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20) and spent his life trying to get other people to catch a vision of his destination.

2. A Navigator Plots The Course: -- There must be some way to get from point "A" to point "B". The Savior said, "I am the one comes to the Father but through Me" (Jno. 14:6). So, Jesus is the course and a good navigator who is going to put you on track with the Lord.

3. A Navigator Thinks Ahead: -- Jesus never promised that being a Christian would be without problems and obstacles. I think the Bible calls them "stumbling blocks" (Rom. 14:13; cf Matt. 18:6). A good navigator will, wherever possible, look ahead and identify these sources of stumbling. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

4. A Navigator Makes Course Corrections: -- Once having identified the obstacles you have to figure away around, over, or under the problem. A good navigator passesses something many others do not -- experience. Having experience and a certain level of spiritual maturity usually qualifies one to help others through their problems...

5. A Navigator Stays With People: -- You wouldn't expect a navigator to "jump ship" just as you were facing a crisis. In times of trouble is when you need a navigator the most. So, a good navigator is going to be with you "through thick and thin." He's not going to abandon you in the hour of trial.

Jesus wants His people to make a difference in the lives of others. I know of no better way that we can accomplish this than to be a navigator for others. Show them the way from earth to heaven, from the world to Jesus. Help them identify the problems that stand in their way and stay with them, showing them how to work around and over the obstacles to become what God wants us to be. Don't give up the

------ The Jackson Drive Reporter, Jan. 07, 2007.

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