Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Life's Ripples

I have been thinking a lot lately about the ripple effect of our actions. In my Wednesday evening class we've been studying 2 Corinthians, and I was really struck for the first time with how he tries to impress on them (and us) that the completion of their commitment to financially help the brethren in Jerusalem is going to cause others to be thankful, to rejoice, and to give sacrificially themselves. He wanted them to know about the ripple effect of their actions. He used the ripple effect of the Macedonian's selfless giving to encourage the Corinthians. You just never know how something you do or say will impact others. In fact, we will never know about the vast majority of those impacts. I mentioned Sunday that we've all been impacted by a teacher or two, who literally changed our lives. You can easily name a couple of teachers who lit a fire of interest in a subject or changed the direction you were going. Here's the question: Do they know it? And if they don't know about the impact they had on you, how many others are there whose lives were changed that the teacher has no idea about? We know that's true! Why then do we tend to minimize the power of teaching? Why do we have to twist arms to recruit teachers for any of our Bible classes? Have we been judging success and the worthiness of our efforts by the wrong standards? Isn't it up to God to "give the increase"?
And teaching is just one example of life's ripple effect. I've received many emails, calls, and letters from total strangers thanking me for a blog, a book, or a lesson that I did that touched them and made a difference. And how many people who have enjoyed the same "ripple" just didn't let me know about it? That's fine - it just amplifies the reality of life's ripples going out in all directions and the impossibility of seeing how they splash on the shoreline of other peoples lives.
You know what is really neat? I mean REALLY amazing? God sees every wave and every splash! We're not sailing through life on concrete! Everything we do and say, has a ripple effect that needs to roll from us to the glory of God.


Anonymous said...

Mike, Thanks for the reminder. We have talked at length about the things that I have done as a police officer and a christian and never nowing the "outcome". It so easy to think that it doesn't matter, but every contact with every person has the potential to be a positive thing. You never know when someone is looking for the "reason" to come to Jesus. Thanks again!!!!!!

Jeff Goforth said...

Now you "KNOW" why I don't respond more. I do know how to spell knowing. Thanks Mike.

Kathy Rose said...

This is great one. We have talked often how we ripple into others lives and the effect it has. By the way I posted a comment on your November blog spot where you came to TN. A REAL SURPRISE FOR ME!!

love to you & Donna....see you in January in Ft. Lauderdale!!!!