Being single, we usually think if we want to make significant changes around us, we have to become influential. We mistakingly assume this is only possible whenever we become famous. With purpose, we try to manage to get there eventually to make it happen. What if I told you that there is a better way how you can become a purposeful single and thus powerfully influence your world. What if there is no need to be famous to be an influential single?
Having said this, I am convinced that you will do it in a much greater way than you would have thought.
To help you become a purposeful and influential single without being famous let us look at an older lady the Bible presents to us. Anna was the hero at the temple. She was a devout believer, living for one cause. I guess she was one of those special people you sometimes meet. Old ladies praying all day have always impressed me. “How is that possible? I cannot even pray for fifteen minutes,” I thought when I was a teenager. “Really, all day? Every day?” In the church I grew up, there were a couple of elderly people who loved to pray. I remember a lady saying that she could not move a lot anymore. But she had a lot of time. And she had the heart to pray for the church. That was her role and she prayed. A lot!
Not Famous Anna Changed Her World Through Worship
Anna was one of those. Luke introduces her:
[Anna] did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
If she had lived in the same era, she probably would have gotten along really well with Mother Teresa. Anna had no ambitions to become famous. Nor to travel the world. She was convinced there is no need to be famous to be influential.
Here home was the temple. That’s where she stayed all day and night. Her passion was worship. Simply put, she was constantly lifting up her God, giving him the glory. As we will discover shortly, worship transformed her as well as her surroundings.
If she had lived in the same era, she probably would have gotten along really well with Mother Teresa. Anna had no ambitions to become famous. Nor to travel the world. Here home was the temple. That’s where she stayed all day and night. Her passion was worship. Simply put, she was constantly lifting up her God, giving him the glory. As we will discover shortly, worship transformed her as well as her surroundings.
She Put Her Trust in God Despite Hardship
To say the least, her life was not easy. Many years before, she finally met the one! She had the privilege to encounter her husband. The first years of her marriage were amazing, I think. I am reading between the lines;). Actually, we are not told. So, I will stop guessing her. We do know that something difficult happened in the seventh year. Her husband whom she loved died.
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Moreover, there is no mention of children in the text. From one day to the other Anna’s life that was filled with hope and with a nice future tipped over. Nobody would take care of her anymore. A widow had pretty much no chance to live a decent life. In particular, if she did not have children who take care of her.
Hence, Anna made a decision. Anna decided to find her strength in God. She decided to remain in the temple, in God’s dwelling place. In other words, she put her trust in God. Might Anna have remembered the word of the p
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!
God Deeply Cared About His Precious Daughter
God did not forget her and honored her devotion. She was indeed blessed. God revealed his purpose to her. For she began to speak to all people who were waiting for redemption. She was eighty-four years old when God used her in this powerful way.
Likewise, never say to yourself ‘I am too old neither I am not important’. What can God do with me? I am just an ordinary man or woman. God can do great things despite your past, despite your age, despite what other people are thinking about you. God wants to use you for his glory.
Now notice this point. Eighty-four years was a very advanced age in Jesus’ times. Luke is stressing this point. In addition to her age, he wrote that Anna was advanced in years. Just in case we did not realize that she was old. At that age and especially as a widow there was no hope anymore. Or put differently, nobody would bet on you. Those people were at the edge of the society.
God Used the Forgotten to Touch Other People’s Lives
She was not looking for a platform. Not in her craziest dreams, she would have imagined that she would do anything great. “Not famous and an influential single? A world changer? What? I am going to change the world of those in Jerusalem? Never!”, Anna probably thought. Nonetheless, God used her to speak to those who were waiting for a change. That God would finally deliver them from the Romans. She was so filled by God’s presence. Furthermore, she had the gift of prophecy.
What I think is really amazing, is that this not famous woman—in the eyes of the Israelites this was definitely the case—had tremendous value in the eyes of God. Anna did seemingly unimportant things. I would even guess that she did not see a lot of changes. However, many incremental steps closer to God take us a long way over the years. Similarly, Anna had gone a long way. Not famous, but she became influential.
God’s Presence Transforms Us
Luke tells us that she married when she was a virgin. She was likely still young at that time. Now, let us do some math. Assuming she got married in her twenties, she spent over fifty years as a widow at the temple. Having said this, that is a long time and I have a hard time wrapping my head around it because I have not lived that long yet and cannot imagine living half a century at the same place alone. Not even close.
The psalmist continued,
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
Certainly, one day in his presence is so powerful and impacts our lives in an amazing way. Imagine spending over 50 years in God’s dwelling place! That is 50 times 365 days which amounts to 18,250 days! That is to say, Anna had many chances to get closer to God’s heart. Over time, her
Enter into God’s Presence
Under the old covenant temple was the only place where the spiritual world intersected the secular. God resided in the holiest place. In those times, the people were not filled with the Holy Spirit yet. But there were a few exceptions including kings and prophets. That is why Anna made a great decision, which is surprising at first.
She lost everything. From a worldly perspective, every hope was gone. She still decided to put her hope on the One who never disappears nor forsakes you. Above all, by living at the temple she gained everything because she was in God’s presence and this for over fifty years.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
She would live in the valley of Baca. It was a desert, a dark place, a difficult place, a place of despair. But those who find their strength in the God almighty undergo a powerful transformation. Instead of barely making it, they start influencing the world around them and transform the desert into an oasis. As a consequence, springs start to come forth everywhere. What is interesting in this Psalm is that the very ones going through difficult moments make it happen. They change the world around them for the better. How is it possible?
God Makes the Impossible Possible
They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
They go from strength to strength. Why? Because they enter God’s presence. We are always changed in his presence. It’s in God’s presence that we realize who we really are. He reveals us how he is in those moments. He is faithful, he is trustworthy, he is loving, he takes care of us. God is our shepherd, he is our healer, he is our provider, he is our guide.
God Honors Our Commitment
Worshiping, fasting and prayer was Anna’s lifestyle. She would appear before God in Zion daily for over fifty years. I think it is amazing that she was one of the first one to meet the Messiah. In a culture where the women did not have any value, God valued Anna and honored her commitment.
Above all, she saw the one the Jews had been waiting for. God’s one and only son who would die on a cross to open access to the Father so that everyone would have the opportunity to enter God’s presence. Everywhere. All the time. No matter what race, what ethnicity, what age, what marital status.
There Is No Need to Be Famous to Be An Influential Single
Anna was definitely not famous and very likely most of the Israelites overlooked her. But, she was an amazing influencer, changing people’s lives. Imagine how many people she met at the temple all those years! There is hope for you! Her example shows us there is no need to be famous to be an influential single. I am sure that her attitude was shining all over and that she left a lasting impression with the ones who encountered her. And one day she met even the greatest Influencer, Jesus, the Son of God.
Become an Influential Single
To sum up, God is ready to do the same with you in your very season you are right now. No matter how you feel, God wants you to enter his presence. All it takes is a small step. You will influence those around you by your small but meaningful actions. Over the years, every small step will add up, and you will be amazed by the heights God will take you to. There is no need to be famous to be an influential single.