There’s a little phrase tucked away in a quiet corner of the book of Acts that I stumbled upon one day. The apostle Paul, who started many of the churches in Greece and Asia was in a rush to get to Jerusalem and didn’t want to offend the folks in a town called Ephesus. So he asked the leaders to come meet him at the docks while he changed ships. Check out what he said:
(Acts 20:18) And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time,
“With you the whole time.” Paul was on to something that we sometimes forget. If you want to influence someone you have to invest time in them.
I remember a time in my student ministry days. We were canoeing the Ouisquechita River in southern Louisiana. Several of the high schoolers were massacring the Jr. Highers in canoe wars. So I picked a few of the young guerilla commandoes and we raced ahead to set a trap. We hid the canoes beyond a bend and climbed the muddy embankment 8 feet high thick with shrubs and thorns. As the unsuspecting Senior Highers rounded the bend we launched the attack. I yelled, “Charge!” The 13 and 14 year olds raced down the hill into combat. I stepped wrong and slid all the way down the muddy hill through thorns and brush. Actually it wasn’t all the way, I got tangled up like a fat fly in a spider’s web. Hanging bleeding over the river.
I distinctly remember thinking, “What am I doing here? I’m 26 years old. Is this how Billy Graham got started? This hurts.”
And of course the Jr. Highers were slaughtered without my help.
Why was I there? Because I wanted to influence a bunch of teenagers and to do that I had to spend time with them.
If you want to influence you have to invest time!
This is true in parenting. I sometimes hear, “I spend quality time, not quantity time.” There’s no such thing as quality time without quantity time. Magic moments can’t be scheduled. They show up unexpectedly. So to be there to catch them, you have to be there a lot. This is true in your marriage. It’s true in any area where you want to influence someone else. You have to invest the time. And when you do it makes all the difference.
That’s the good news, now have a great day.