Our youth pastor was talking in our staff meeting last night and said "Remember that as you go through your day/life, that the one thing you always take with you is YOU".
I think this ties in very nicely with the Beatitudes. We can say many things to others. We can be white washed tombs as we parade around, but people will see who we are as we interact with them on a personal level. When we are displaying the fruit of the Spirit and the Beatitudes it will be hard for them to disagree with much of what we say. They may not like to hear the Gospel, but if we are gracious they will listen. God has to do the work anyway.
He also said something along the lines of, "You can be very dogmatic about your theology, but if you are not as serious about your godliness will they listen?"
My grandparents were missionaries to Japan for more then 50 years. My grandfather was a serious Calvinist and he loved to debate the subject. He knew his theology and it was difficult to gain any ground with him. Grandmother was married to him for more than 50 years and I am sure she was very grounded in her theology as well, but grandmother's debate was her life. There was no refuting that God was at work in her life because she was glowing with the change, even after being a Christian for more than 80 years. She oosed Christ. She was a strong Calvinist, but before that, she was Christ-like.
We often diminish our influence by trying to argue someone into our belief, rather than let Christ do His work in our lives and then just live it out. We must take opportunity to share, but does it always need to be in an argument? You can be a really smart Christian and have no influence on unbelievers and have no platform with believers. If that is the case then you are only smart and not wise. Jesus called us to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
In a world of cut throat people who are all looking out for themselves it is easy to say things like, "It's not personal, it's business". But more often than not we may do well to say, "It's not business, it's personal". In the end, who are we reflecting? Hopefully we are reflecting the Image of the One Who created us to a world that really needs to see Him lived out. They need to see what He can do with a life that is wholly devoted to Christ.
There are a couple of practical ways to do this. Maybe this will help.
Are we to be good stewards of what God has given us? Yes. Should we be trying to stretch God's money as far as possible? Yes. But if we are stingy, like being a small tipper, the wait staff will say, "Cheap Christians, they never tip right". Diminished influence.
Maybe you're shopping at a really good sale and there are a limited amount of articles of the really cheap clothes on the rack. Are you knocking people down to get to them? Will your Heavenly Father not provide for you, even in your meekness and gentleness?
When someone is visibly in a hurray and you let them go through the check out line in front of you, that loudly speaks.
It is easy for me to loose sight of this with all the distractions around me, but I must stay focused on the important things. If at the end of my life I have made a bunch of money, for myself and others, but have not shown the world who Jesus is by the way I have lived my life, have I been successful? Maybe to the world, but who am I really trying to please? The world or Christ. We can not serve both God and money. Choose today who you will serve.