Let’s face it long-range planning is a lot like dieting: it’s something we’ll start tomorrow. I love facilitating other people’s long range planning, but put off my own.

Here we are in March and I am still trying to plan the rest of this year’s topics for Fireside Talk Radio. Groan.

Why will readers care about the topic? When God trusts us with a platform, how do we best serve Him and others? How is influence best leveraged for the good of everyone?

When long-range impact throws me off my game, there’s one spot where I always get inspired. Looking in the Bible at John 4, a woman came to the well alone. Alone; there’s not much influence in that word. Still, this particular woman left the well and went on to immediately impact her whole community. Her. Whole. Community.

If only we had the courage to impact a whole community.

What changed? She had a conversational adventure with Jesus. Such a simple idea really; just bring them to meet the Savior of the world.

So, what disqualifies us from that kind of community impact?

We often think our past disqualifies us. The Woman at the Well has a past, a back story. Is she a prostitute or promiscuous? Is she alone at the well because she’s shunned by other women? There’s plenty of speculation, of course, but not much factual data; only one sentence we count on.

I believe she is just what Jesus compassionately and truthfully said. She’s a woman who had five husbands and is living with someone who is not her husband. What could her story be? Was she a widow? Perhaps a woman who had been taken advantage of as a child, maybe abandoned more than once. Divorced? Maybe her family and friends don’t even know the number of men who’ve had sexual intercourse with her. Maybe she lives with compassionate family members who have taken her in as a woman abandoned in a culture with no recourse for women.

Does it even matter? I suspect if back stories mattered enough to disqualify people, we’d have a lot more detailed info about this beloved woman.

Instead, we see a transformation as Jesus tells her all she has ever done. He must do so compassionately and truthfully, as he always does. How do we know? Because she reacts with freedom and joy.

We disqualify ourselves from influence in two ways.

#1 By condemning ourselves.

#2 By condemning others.

There are few details about the Woman at the Well because her past did not disqualify her. Neither do ours. Stay tuned for next week when we explore what actually qualifies us for influence. Oh, and here’s a shout out to some influential women: the ladies of the Lake Palestine UMC. Greetings and thanks for letting me join you recently!

Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Contact her at


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