Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
So I talked about honouring and remembering those that had gone before us. That caused me to start thinking about all the people in history who have influenced my life. My top ten are:
- The first is Jesus, of course, because He is the creator and Col 1:16-18 says He literally holds all things together. Jesus is the one who influenced me more than any other person and He has influenced the world more than any other person.
- Abraham. He set the pace for followers of God. He is the father of our faith, he’s called “father” by Muslims. He’s the father of the Jews as well as the father of Christians, so he got my #2 vote.
- I just watched a movie this week about Queen Esther telling the story how she literally saved the Jewish race from annihilation in 465 BC. If it weren’t for her we wouldn’t have Jesus and we wouldn’t have any Jews in our world today. We wouldn’t have any Christians either. So Esther is #3 on my list.
- The Apostle Paul who took Christianity to the West (Europe) from Asia and opened the doors up to the gospel for my ancestors is #4.
- Emperor Constantine. In about 312 AD Constantine Christianized Rome. He saw a vision of a cross when he was fighting a war for emperorship. In the vision the words came “in this sign you will conquer.” He went as a Christian and did conquer. He is the guy that introduced Christmas. He took the pagan holidays and changed them. Winter Solstice became Christmas. He is the one that took the worship of the god of Ishtar and changed it to Easter, a celebration of Christ's resurrection. He built churches and introduced the reading of the Bible. He had Bibles printed by hand, and sent them to 50 influencial churches. He’s also the one who introduced Sunday worship and consequently he's had a huge influence on the world.
- Johann Gutenberg was a businessman, not a preacher or priest. First printed the Bible on his printing press in 1466 and made the Bible accessible to average people.
- Martin Luther in 1517. He stood against the established Roman church and brought reformation. He brought salvation by faith, the priesthood of the believer and established the Scriptures as the foundation to all of life. So very important in our Protestant history.
- Aimee Semple McPherson. She brought the Foursquare Gospel to Canada in 1928. She was an evangelist who introduced salvation, baptism of the Holy Spirit, and healing. Aimee was always interdenominational and international in who she spoke to. She was the founder of the Foursquare Gospel Church all across Canada. She established LIFE Bible College and one of the first graduates is the ninth person on my list.
- Walter Mussen graduated from LIFE (1930). He was my family’s pastor right from the time I was born. My mom was saved in 1933 under his ministry and my father in 1943. They were married in 1943 and my whole family grew up under his ministry. He is the one who gave me a love for the Word of God and for missions. His father was a missionary in China and Walter became a missionary in Japan later in his life (1964).
- My dad and mom. My parents nourished all of their six children to know God, to put Jesus first, to give generously, to work hard and to faithfully serve the church. So they became my top 10 people. So they were #10 of the men and women who have most influenced my life.
It wasn't easy to narrow down this list because a lot of people have influenced me over the years. If you have a few minutes, why not think of your own top ten. Think also about whose list you might be on. Hopefully you have had a good influence on your children, grandchildren and others who lives you have touched.