So Many Ripples
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:18-19, NIV)
The morning dew twinkles in the crevices of the grass as the sunlight peeks over the horizon. A veil of mist floats over the surface of the nearby pond. The water lingers, undisturbed. All is calm as your first tee ball jumps off the driver and droplets of water dance in the air watching the tee somersault backwards.
I was bearing witness to the next wave of ripples, gradually spreading influence to others, right in front of me.The second golfer in the group is less fortunate as his tee ball fades to the right into the sleeping pond. With deflated hopes, the golfer watches as the water breaks into circular ripples rolling outward from the center of impact.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a ripple effect is “a gradually spreading effect or influence.” As golfers we can feel both positive and negative ripple effects within the course of 18 holes. One good shot can lead to a birdie and build our confidence for more good shots to follow. Hitting a ball into the water on the other hand, can lead to a path of downward demise, especially to our score.
Jesus was about creating ripple effects. On one of his trips to “the other side,” the general region east of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man by sending the unclean spirits tormenting him into a herd of pigs that rushed off a steep bank to their death in the sea. When the people saw this man clothed and in his right mind, they became afraid. Wrapped in their fear, the people begged Jesus to depart from their region, but the healed man begged Jesus that he might come along with him. Jesus said no—because he was about the ripple effect.
Jesus encouraged the healed man to go home and tell others about what the Lord had done for him and the mercy he had received. One verse later, the Apostle Mark tells us that the man not only went home, but he became a truth-teller to the region he lived in (the Decapolis), and all the people were amazed. If the healed man had gone away with Jesus, then the good news of what Jesus offered would not have reached into one of the most pagan regions in the land.
Recently, I was struck profoundly by a ripple effect happening in my own life while at an Open Hearts Ministry seminar where stories of harm and abuse were spoken, heard, and redeemed. As a past participant and now volunteer small group leader, I have had truth spoken into my life by many men and women in this ministry. At the end of the seminar I sat amazed as I realized that five of the participants who stood to share were people I had invited to the seminar. They each expressed their gratitude for the invitation to be there and for what they were leaving to go home with. I was bearing witness to the next wave of ripples, gradually spreading influence to others, right in front of me.
Changing the conversation inside the walls of country clubs is also about the ripple effect. Each one of us has the opportunity to spread the influence of God’s Word to our fellow golfers through playing golf together and building relationships, one ripple at a time. But someone has to go first…
October 27, 2016
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