The Change of Presence

Matthew 13:33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

In physics, there’s an interesting phenomenon called the “Observer Effect.” It states that, simply by observing, the thing being observed is changed. Similar effects can be found in economics, psychology, sociology, human relationships, and even information technology. Presence impacts people and things in the environment, even when there is no intention to impact. Simply by being present, there is an impact.

What is the impact your presence brings? We must be aware that we have an impact on people, places, and things no matter whether we intend to have the impact or not. We bring beliefs, attitudes, talents, experiences, emotions, and many other individual offerings to all interactions. The offering is as unique as the individual bringing it. Some bring impact unconsciously and some bring impact consciously, but all bring impact.

Being conscious of the impact of our presence allows us to choose how we will impact. Choosing positive over negative, love over hate, acceptance over rejection, courage over fear, and understanding over divisiveness allows us to use our presence to improve our surroundings.

Notice that the leaven in the scripture was a small thing that caused an “impactful” change. It takes only one person, acting in a constructive or destructive way, to change a large environment. It’s true of business environments. It’s true of families. It’s true of churches.

Proverbs 29:2 says – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Notice that one wicked man can cause the people to not only stop rejoicing, but to actually begin to groan. A single bad egg spoils it all. We’ve all experienced this. One person spoils the mood of the family gathering. One person changes the mood of the office. If you’ve never had this experience, it may be that you are that one person…

Be positive in presence. Be the person who makes others rejoice by your coming and not by your going. There’s an old joke that says – everyone brings joy… some by showing up and others by leaving.

What is the impact your presence brings? Being an observer doesn’t negate your impact. Be an active participant in how you impact others. Choose to have your presence make a positive, loving impact and improve your environment wherever you find yourself. Be the leaven of Christ and not the leaven of the Pharisees. Jesus spoke of both – one kind leads to the Kingdom of Heaven and the other leads to separation from God.

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