Simon, nicknamed Niger,
Lucius the Cyrenian,
Manaen, an advisor to the ruler Herod,
Saul. Acts 13:1-2 (TM)
"Is that what you’re wearing?" my wife asks in a soft voice, her eyebrow twitching into just the hint of an arch.
That’s all it takes. I’m going to be changing my outfit. For whatever reason, something I’m wearing hasn’t passed muster. Because she rarely says anything remotely critical about my clothes, I trust that something is truly amiss.
No one has as much influence over me as my wife. She is my constant companion, lover, advisor and best friend. When she speaks, I listen (even when she doesn’t think I hear her). She influences me and my behavior in a million different ways.
I have no idea who Manaen was. I know nothing about the man and don’t ever recall paying attention to his name the numerous times I’ve read the book of Acts. What we do know about the man is that he was an advisor to one of the most evil, arrogant, ruthless rulers that the middle east has ever known. Herod wielded great power and influence. He was as paranoid as he was arrogant, killing most of his own family to protect his position. Herod had people around him killed as easily and non-chalantly as I might change my shirt. And, Manaen the Christian was Herod’s advisor.
I can’t imagine being an advisor to the likes of Herod. Manaen’s life would have been in constant jeopardy. One small political misstep, one wrong piece of advice offered to Herod when the ruler was in a bad mood, and his life was forfeit. Yet, God placed this believer in a position of power for a purpose. Manaen was an agent of God in the court of evil’s dominion. God placed this man in a position where he could have tremendous influence.
I’ve often heard people asking how God might use them. Instead of looking for some great project to which God might call us, we would do well to consider how God wants to use us in our circles of influence. We greatly affect our spouse, our children, our family, our friends, and our co-workers.
How can God use me in influencing those around me for His good purpose?