On the TIME 100 List: Who is influencing you?

A look at TIME’s list of the most influential people of 2024 and how we understand influence

TIME recently published its list of most influential people of 2024. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, I do not recognize most of the names on their list. But the sobering reality is these individuals are having an influence right now— not just vaguely on culture and media at large, but on you and I and people we love dearly.

So here is the question for us, then. Who makes that list for you? Maybe we can’t pin down 100 people or even the top of that list, but consider for a moment, who influences what you buy? What you watch? What you say? What you sing? Or what you give? 

In short: who is influencing you?

We are influenced every day by people who are in authority over us— by our bosses at work. We are influenced by people around us like our coworkers, neighbors, people in our community— how they live, what they say.

You and I are influenced by the choices other people make. You are influenced by whether or not other people throw trash on the ground or pick it up. 

When we talk about people of influence, TIME is trying to weigh the heft of the influence— the amount and breadth and scope. Or, how many people are influenced by a certain person. 

The definition of influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something— and also the effect itself.

We are talking about the people who have the capacity to affect our character or our behavior. So who influences you—to say what you say, or post what you post, or buy what you buy (or don’t)? Who could influence you to get out of your house today with a sign and march around about something?

Now, in this evaluation of our hearts and minds, how much influence does Jesus have? How is he influencing your character today? The way you are developing— what you are going to say and do and where you are going to go? Does Jesus make your list of the top 100 influencers? 

As believers in Jesus, the conversation does not end there. You and I are called by God to be influential. We are supposed to be like light. We recognize the darkness persists, but the light absolutely changes the reality around it. Jesus says to us, His called influencers: 

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

We need to be asking the question, who am I influencing today and what kind of influence am I? How am I influencing everyone who is going to hear my words and see me today? 

Let me encourage you to be a person of influence today in the spirit of Jesus. 

Let your light shine before others as you pierce the darkness and give glory to your Father in heaven. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people, ideas, institutions and more vying for our attention, to persuade and influence us in a way of life. Let us make Jesus, the way the truth and the life, to be our primary influence. Let us follow His Way above all else. Let us be lights who point others to The Light.

Now, look around for a second and ask, who is influencing the people you love the most in the world? Let’s not waste another moment without considering the influences on our lives and how we might be influencing others. 

I implore you to have this conversation today with those you love. What a great question to ask a young adult or teen, as we ask it of ourselves, who are the primary influencers in your life? How are they shaping your behavior, character and development? Who is actually influencing you and toward what direction?