I once read that a detective observed that no one enters a room without bringing something with them and no one leaves a room without taking something away. I suppose he was referring particularly to small things that might be a clue in an investigation — a piece of lint, dirt on your shoes, etc. On a different level it could mean that there are influences on our life that stay with us when we go to a new place and there are influences that we leave behind when we depart.

These influences are more than material. They could also be the impact that others have on us and that we have on the people with whom we come into contact as we move about our world.

Think about it for a moment. How is your life being impacted by the people around you? Are the godly men and women whom you know serving as models for your own life? Do they challenge you simply by their example to strive for a more loving, moral lifestyle? Do you grow in your faith because of your desire to be more like them — or more specifically, like the One whom they are seeking to follow? When you leave their presence what are you taking with you?

Conversely, are you picking up the negative vibes of disgruntled or unhappy individuals who surround you? Do you find yourself in a worse mood or more prone to uncivil attitudes and actions because of their influence? I am not suggesting that you drop them as friends, shun them as co-workers or renounce them as family. I am suggesting that you should be aware of their negativity and seek to counteract it by your own positive direction. Jesus was constantly surrounded by people who were downers, but he sought to change them rather than being changed by them. We can do the same.

So how about when you leave a room? What are you leaving behind? Are people better or worse for your having been there? Do people feel affirmed and loved because they have been around you? Do they sense that there is something in your life that is positive and desirable? Have you found some way, subtly or overtly, to let them understand that your vibe, what we might refer to as inner peace, comes from your personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ?

As followers of Jesus, we have no power to compel others either to be better or to become Christians. We can only exercise our influence, but that is a powerful force. Every time you enter a room, what are you bringing with you? Every time you leave a room, what are you leaving behind?