Influence without Affluence
By Anachunam Ifeoma
How can I help someone when I cannot even help myself? What am I expected to do? I don’t have money. I can’t really help, I have no money. A poor man/woman like me, what have I to offer? Had it been I have money now, I would have done this or that. The list is endless of excuses we use to make to shy away from our little contribution for the world betterment.
Almost all the time, in fact on a daily basis, we hear all these assertions, all these comments of how incapacitated we are to contribute meaningfully to the lives of others.
Then I wonder “is money everything or answer to every problem?” No doubt money is important for us to meet our daily needs, but do we need money to really be human, feel the pains of others, share their sorrows and give a listening heart? Of course NO.
Influence has to do with touching lives positively while affluence has to do with wealth, money, riches. To convince us better, let us take a brief look at the meaning of these two words: Influence and Affluence.
Influence according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is “the power to change or affect someone or something; a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way” “an emanation of spiritual or moral force”. According to the Oxford Dictionary, influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something”.
From the above definitions, we can see that it is all about positively motivating, regulating or determining another into action, especially as it regards personal growth, development, and survival.
While affluence according to Merriam Webster is “an abundance of wealth, property” it is all about riches, and in fact abundance of it.
Looking at the two definitions one can deduce that the two are really contrasted, and obviously, we don’t need riches to make impart in our surroundings. Admittedly, often, the burden of poverty seems too great. But there are people who in their poverty touch the lives of many around them, even to the confusion and shame of the rich.
We don’t need to be born with a silver spoon in our mouth to achieve great things in life.
There are people who in this life have contributed meaningfully to other peoples’ lives without being rich. You are a Christian right? Look at your founder and leader ‘Jesus Christ’, how rich was He according to our human standard? And yet for thousands of years, even now He is still inspiring and touching lives.
We have Christian figures too, those who followed closely in the footsteps of their Master, they are St. Francis of Asisi and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, to pick just these two. They are both from rich families but they made an impact in the world not through riches or affluence but through poverty.
They turned their back on the family wealth and riches and faced the world poor, wretched and humble, yet they touched, changed and motivated so many lives.
Rosa Parks was an African-American human right activist. She was poor, marginalized yet she courageously stood up for her right and rights of so many African-Americans. Can you, can I, can we do the same?
To be continued