The ripple effect….
is a situation where, like the ever expanding ripples across the water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally. The activity is experienced in social systems, financial markets and even the insurance industry – remember the Liberty Mutual commercials! A person witnesses the kind act of another, and turns to help another. The ripple effect…is real and powerful!
As disciples, sons of the Father, husbands, fathers, workers and neighbors, we “drop” into many pools of water each day. The effect of that single drop could be helpful or hurtful to someone within the numerous circles created by the drop. In the ministry, I hear from many who have been recipients of another’s kindness or generosity, as well as someone negatively impacted by a painful situation or condition, especially with someone they love. The ripple effect ….is expansive and moving!
In a recent Bible study with men, we investigated the classic dialogue between Jesus and Peter late in the Gospel of John.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord,you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, 3 times! Most commentators believe this action was to credit Peter as righteous to offset the three denials of Christ in the courtyard prior to his death. Jesus did not want the effect of Peter’s denial to impact what he was called to do. He encouraged Peter with a mission – to feed the lambs and tend and feed the sheep. In other words, despite the denial and the shame and guilt from the courtyard experience, Peter had a responsibility, a calling, a purpose. And Jesus emphatically reminded him of that mission. The act of forgiveness expressed by Jesus is an example of the ripple effect….it is meaningful and necessary!
No matter what may be affecting our relationship with Christ, He has called us into a work of sharing the light of Christ to others. Not only our wives, children and extended family, but to all around us. Because you never know when an action representing the Gospel is like a drop of water into a pool, the ripple effect could reach someone who needs the Gospel today. Just look at the guys in your Bible study next week and see where the ripple effect reached them with the Good News! Someone started the ripple…Christ is the drop that started it for us.
Where can you be the drop that starts it for others. The ripple effect…can start with you, through the King of Kings, Jesus Christ!