Faith of a Father

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; – Hebrews 10:23

Lesson #3 From a Heart Attack: We influence others more than we think!

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The day that I had my heart attack there was a whirlwind of events with many people involved.  After our initial visit at the doctor’s office my wife Sherry drove me to the hospital for my blood test.   It was then that we discuss who and when we should contact people to let them know that I was on the way to the hospital.  We figured it was a “just to be sure trip” with nothing important to tell so we figured we’d wait until we had the “all clear” and we’d let people know later what a wasted afternoon we had. 

Once the blood test was done to test for elevated enzymes we were told to get to the ER immediately.  We thought it was kind of odd at the time that we had to ask someone in the lab if they were going to show us the way through the hallways to the ER or if we had to find it ourselves.  Someone came out and we followed them.  Hey, maybe it’s not too bad; they didn’t even bother to wheel me up in a wheelchair.  At least I’m not gonna have a heart attack or something.

Once the ER realized my situation, everything went pretty fast.  Within minutes and while being prepped for a heart catherization I had my heart attack.  Sherry was trying to deal with the admissions person regarding our insurance, both her parents and my mom needed to be called, at church , during the middle of the service, with kids in various locations in the service.  Someone had to figure out what to do with the kids while our parents came to the hospital.  Fortunately, a good family friend, Chris, stayed with the kids that evening to keep them occupied.  While this is going on, I’m in the ER fussing about the consultant that I was to meet that night and all that I had to do in preparation for the next day’s offsite training I was coordinating for work.  There were six or more people in my ER bay, and probably 4 or five people had to be called in to work to staff in the cath lab during my procedure.    

Since my heart attack I have seen many nurses both in the hospital and out.  Of course I continue to have contact with my doctor, I had 12 sessions of Cardio rehab with 3-4 nurses at the rehab center managing all the patients in various fashion each visit.  While I was out of work my HR Coordinator Kristie had to cover for me, and of course my immediate family was a constant source of help and encouragement.   

I said all this to say:  You don’t live on an Island, you influence and affect others whether you know it or not. 

My heart attack affected and continues to affect many people.  The doctors and nurses, the medical staff that had to be called in for the catherization, my employer and coworkers, as well as the rehab people.   Apparently my heart attack has affected several men at church, or at least a number of women have told me it will!  And of course most of all my family was greatly impacted.  Our lifestyle at home has changed.  For one thing, no more do we have 3-5 boxes of ice cream open in the freezer!  My actions of eating what I wanted and as much as I wanted, my lack of regular exercise, and just plain procrastination of doing what was best no doubt assisted in my heart attack which has, as I said, affected many people, most importantly my family.  I am realizing that my heart attack even affects people with whom I will never have contact.  For example, the medical expenses for my heart attack cost tens of thousands of dollars which in turn can affect our insurance plan’s experience rate which in turn, while minimal, could have an effect on future rates.   The trickle-down effect of our influence runs further than we ever think.    

But just as my heart attack has affected many people positively and negatively in many different ways, I am reminded that everything I do and everything you do in the open and in secret will affect someone else.  My wife has a saying that she tells our children regularly, “You can choose your sin but you can’t choose your consequences or who will be affected by them.”  How true.  The things we do every day, those little things that don’t seem to add up to anything big, that candy bar, that extra hamburger, that lie, that secret sin,  affect not only you but those around you.  On the flip side, you can influence many people positively as well.  How you respond to crisis, how you encourage others, or how you exemplify integrity at work or with your family, these are just a few positive ways you can influence others. Stop and think about your day today.  Sit down and make a list of how you influenced others today both positively or negatively. 

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

It is really amazing when we think about it how much influence we have with other people.  Even that cashier you cheered up by saying a kind word or that driver you yelled some “not so nice” words at, you influenced even them.

Now what about your family?  How are you influencing them?  Are you a positive influence or negative influence?  Are you pointing others to Christ or are you pointing others towards the world, the flesh, and ungodliness?  Even as Christians we can become too comfortable at home where we say and do things we know we shouldn’t.  Why do you think so many children that were reared in a home with Christian parents stray from the Lord?  I submit to you that in many cases they see our hypocrisy.

The following are some verses that I have found regarding influence.  I’m sure you can add many more to this list.

I Corinthians 15:339(ESV)) – Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.

Psalm 1:1(ESV) – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.

Proverbs 13:20(ESV) – Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

I Peter 3:15-16(ESV) – But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Proverbs 27:12(ESV) – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 22:24-25(ESV) – Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Proverbs 13:20(ESV) – Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

As we can see, there are many Scripture passages that reference our influence.  See more here 

My point is what we do, good or bad, right or wrong, godly or ungodly, in secret or in the open, out loud or only in our minds, everything we do will affect someone else.  It may have an affect short term or it may be years before it affects someone else, but it will.

I came across the following video sometime ago and I thought it would be appropriate here. 


Mom, Dad, how are you influencing those around you, especially your children?  Are you influencing others towards what is right?  What about your health?  Are you, am I, setting a good healthy example?  Do we watch what we eat and exercise like we should?  The Bible says to the Christian, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  What kind of temple do you want the Holy Ghost to live in?  What about your spiritual walk with the Lord, do your children, friends and co-workers see you striving to serve Him or do they see you striving to please yourself or others more?

We all have choices to make in our lives and each choice we make WILL affect those around you.  It may be physically, emotionally, financially, and most important spiritually.  What do others see in you?  A heart attack waiting to happen, or someone striving to be healthy?  Do they see someone serving self or seeking God?  The first to answers in these statements (heart attack and self)  will bring pain, misery and heartache, the second answers (health and God) will  bring contentment, joy and peace. 

The question is not are you influencing others, the question is HOW are you influencing others?

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Author: faithofafather

A father of 5 children, my goal is to be an encouragement and blessing to others as we walk through this life living the Christian faith rearing our children for the glory of God.

One thought on “Lesson #3 From a Heart Attack: We influence others more than we think!

  1. Good article Donn! I’ll never forget that night and all that occured! We are all so thankful the Lord brought you through it (and us, too:) Thank you for not “wasting your heart attack” and sharing the lessons you have learned. The truthes you have been sharing are very rich and speak not only to the mind but to the HEART as well. Thank you! Love, Mom

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