In one of my recent forays into the interwebs, I came across a young woman who, when asked what she “did,” called herself an “influencer.” Like it is a job. Like she gets paid to tell people to wear ballcaps sideways and call their friends “brah.”
Hey, someone has to do it. And clearly, someone is doing it. Trends change like Florida weather these days. If you don’t act quickly, you will have to buy “mom jeans” (yes, they are trending) at a used clothing outlet for a tenth of the retail price. So step to it! Those Benjamins won’t set fire to themselves.
This kind of “influencer” (if I may paint with broad strokes) derives satisfaction in seeing her own preferences reflected in the behavior of others. It is an exercise in ego. Some, however, claim to be fueled by principle. Whether it is the environment, world hunger, social justice, or any one of a hundred other topics, they jump into the spotlight to ring the bell, calling others to action. But such ones run the risk of becoming just as egotistical as the others. Being “the face of the movement” can become more about the face than the movement.
You can tell the genuinely principled influencers by the way they divert attention from themselves toward the actual cause. John the Baptist (John 1:29-30), Peter (Acts 3:16) and Paul (2 Corinthians 4:7) always pointed people toward the Lord. Their approach won’t be the best way to accumulate subscribers. But if we have an attitude like Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 11:1 — “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” — personal glory is not our motivation anyway.