The High Cost of Influence (A Lesson from Crazy Horse)

Crazy Horse2         One of our mission teams returned from South Dakota this past week, having seen and experienced some amazing things in and around the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. While there, they had the opportunity to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial – a mountain that is in the process of being blasted and carved into the shape of the famous Oglala Lakota Indian warrior. There are some interesting facts surrounding the memorial…

RushmoreThe Crazy Horse Memorial is the largest mountain carving in progress. All four of the 60-ft heads from Mount Rushmore would fit inside Crazy Horse’s head. The carving is 641 ft long and 563 ft high.

Although the sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, died in 1982, his wife and 7 of his 10 children carry on the work and the dream.

All of the money used to finance the project comes from private donations and admission fees for the attractions related to the monument.

Even though Korczak was offered $10 million in government funding on two separate occasions, the Memorial organizers refuse to accept any government funds.

So why, if the organizers are needing funds would they turn down such a generous donation? Why would anyone in their right mind refuse to accept help that is offered for something of that magnitude?

It could be that the Memorial organizers understand the value of allowing (or not allowing) someone else to have influence over them. It could be that they grasp the concept of caution when allowing someone to speak into your life.

Consider this story from I Kings 13:

By the word of the Lord a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. By the word of the Lord he cried out against the altar: “Altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’” That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the Lord has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”

When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the Lord.

Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the Lord your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before.

The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me for a meal, and I will give you a gift.”

But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” 10 So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.

11 Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king. 12 Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken. 13 So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it 14 and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”

“I am,” he replied.

15 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.”

16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’”

18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.) 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’”

23 When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. 24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it. 25 Some people who passed by saw the body lying there, with the lion standing beside the body, and they went and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived. (NIV)

Wow! Although the man of God did as the LORD commanded him in the face of Jeroboam, he failed when it came to the “harmless” request of the old prophet. It was that failure that cost him his position, his heritage, and his life.

So what does this say about how you should react when someone speaks into your life? Does that “word” reinforce or contradict what you know to be God’s will? Has the still, small voice of God already spoken to your heart something that you feel someone else is trying to divert you from? Is the person speaking to you someone you know to be a person of integrity and Godliness, or an “old prophet” who will say anything hungry and eager ears want to hear?

In I John 4, John tells us to “…not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Just remember the three “P“s when it comes to allowing someone to speak into your life…

Prove. Has the person speaking proven themselves to be a person of integrity and Holy-Spirit power?
Prayer. Take the time to pray about what you have heard. Ask God to guide you in His wisdom.
Peace. Allow the peace of God to be a sign that what you are hearing is from Him.

Make sure that any “word” you are given is from God. If it’s not, even the most “well-intentioned” word can become a curse.

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