Isn't it amazing the power and influence one person can have, for good or for bad?
Take Abraham Lincoln, Corrie Ten Boom, or Jesus Christ. On the other hand, take Genghis Khan, Karl Marx, or Adolf Hitler. Each person had an incalculable influence for God's side or the devil's side.
Now take two men in the Book of Mormon.
The good guy was Abinadi. The bad guy was Nehor. They both died before they saw their influence, but each of their influence was immeasurable.
|Abinadi was awesome. He bravely returned to preach repentance to King Noah's people even after being threatened with death. He only had one convert that we know of, but that convert was amazing.|
Abinadi appears to have only one convert from his mission -- Alma. Maybe you served an LDS mission and felt discouraged that he or she had "only one convert." But you never know. What if down the road you realize you baptized an Alma? Let's take a look at this hero. First off, Alma risked his life to beg King Noah to save Abinadi. It went something like this, "King, he's right you know. We really have been naughty. And we know better. Your dad was a righteous guy. We should repent. Don't kill him. He's just telling the truth." Once Alma's life was threatened, he hid, repented, wrote down everything Abinadi had taught, and then started preaching the truth in secret. He baptized lots of people, and eventually became the leader of the entire church! Wow, the power of one good person in the hands of God, one Abinadi.
Now let's look at Nehor. There is only half a chapter about this man (see Alma 1:2-16). Nehor was a classic anti-Christ, a false prophet, and from what I can tell he came from within the church. Nehor preached false doctrine, got church members to follow him, and started his own church. Then another hero, Gideon, strongly reminded Nehor of the truth. Nehor didn't like Gideon getting in his way so Nehor killed this hero. Nehor was put to death for killing an innocent man.
But the story didn't stop there.
Nehor's influence lived on and on and on. He started a tradition of priestcraft (see Alma 1;12), of false prophets, of anti-Christs, of people who wanted to take over the government. And little did he know how many people would follow his short-lived but powerful example. In the very next chapter (Alma 2) a man named Amlici followed Nehor's lead. He started this massive war, got the Lamanites involved, and caused the death of tens of thousands of men, women, and children. And if you've ever read the Book of Mormon, you know there are many more of those wars in the pages to come.
The power of one person!
Sheri Dew, one of my modern day heroes, has spoken openly about the profound influence of her grandmother in her life, yet her grandmother died when Sheri was eleven. Isn't that astounding that one person can affect someone else that much even after they die? Who do you know like that, whether they are still alive or passed on, who has had a profound influence on your life? My great, great Grandpa William Budge is like that. So are my parents. So is my friend Joan Erickson. So are many other dear family members and friends.
What about you? Are you being an Abinadi who invites people to come unto Christ? Or are you being a Nehor, setting a bad example that will live even after you have gone?
No matter the price or persecution, now is the time to be an Abinadi!