1. A ripple effect is a situation in which, like ripples expanding across water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally.
  2. A series of things that happen as the result of a particular action or event.
  3. A situation in which one event produces effects which spread and produce further effects.

Water shows us the best example of what a ripple is. When my son throws a rock in the water, what once was still becomes active. Dane’s action causes motion in the water, which we see on the surface by small ripples and waves. These ripples continue to radiate from the original point of entry in the water, their effects continuing to spread all around, expanding the affected area.

Consider the wind: it blows across the surface of the water, causing these ripples. If that wind continually blows, it creates waves that keep building and growing in size, depth, width, and height. These waves keep rolling into each other, triggering more waves. Eventually these waves make landfall, and it can be a spectacular sight, or a fearful concern.

Your actions can produce positive or negative ripples in the lives around you and beyond.

Remember that you reap what you sow. If you are living for yourself, being selfish, not helping others, and ignoring opportunities to love someone else in Jesus’ name, that has an effect on people, a negative one. Not doing something still results in a ripple. Having an affair leads to an immediate negative outcome within your heart, which grows outward in other areas, ultimately affecting your marriage and your children’s lives.

Let’s look at the disciples’ lives. They once were fishermen, doing their own thing. Their work helped their families and maybe a few other lives, but it stopped there. Once they met and followed Jesus, their  lives took on a purpose: to share the love story of truth about who Jesus was and is. They created this storm that caused such a massive ripple effect in their time, that thousands came to know Christ! Their once small ripples have formed into waves that overtakes the hearts of men, and it keeps on moving, ever-widening and expanding the Gospel of Jesus. Those effects are felt today, with most of us that follow Jesus being fruit of the apostle’s labor.

Peter was led to preach to the Caesarean gentiles. Until this point, he and other Jewish men believed them to be unclean and unworthy. But through a dream, the Lord taught Peter otherwise. Jesus wanted his newly appointed apostle to carry the message of the Good News to the gentiles, and it started with a centurion named Cornelius. While Peter was teaching Cornelius and his family, the Holy Spirit filled them all! These Caesareans came to believe and were immediately baptized. Thus the wave of gentiles that accepted Jesus as their Lord began to grow, swell and spread far and wide. It all started with one man’s choice to act.

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, that may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
1 Peter 2:12

Examples of Biblical ripple effects:
– Adam and Eve’s choice to disobey God has infected all of mankind with sin and death.
– Noah obeyed and built the ark, sparing his family. As a result, mankind survived and we are here.
– Abraham obeyed God and would have killed his son Isaac. As a result he is the father of as many grains of sand on the seashore and stars in the heavens.
– Joseph became ruler of Egypt, saving his father and brothers who became the 12 tribes of Israel.
– Ruth stayed with her mother-in-law Naomi after their husbands died. She married Boaz, and her lineage is traced King David, and Jesus.
– Solomon didn’t ask for wealth, therefore God gave him wisdom and wealth. Today we read his wise words in Proverbs, and Song of Solomon.
– Joseph, father of Jesus, chose to marry Mary, giving her freedom to have her baby and raise Jesus in a family setting. As a result, we honor her and celebrate Jesus as our Lord!

Another example:
– Adolf Hitler. One man, one vision. He incited anger and hatred, causing the deaths of millions of mostly Jewish people.

A single act of kindness might inspire that person to pay it forward, and so on, and so on, until it is multiplied 1000x over! Thats what we are talking about. Make a difference. It starts with one.

A couple of quotes:
“Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect and repercussions that emanate. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side.” Victor Webster
“Doing good holds the power to transform us on the inside, and then ripple out in ever-expanding circles that positively impact the world at large.” Shari Arison

Food for thought: Jump in and create a splash! Do something mighty, do something small. It doesn’t matter the size at all.

Fun fact: Waves are a renewable source that is powerful enough to produce energy that is turned into electricity. Wave energy is environmentally friendly and it won’t run out like fossil fuels! (unless God commands the winds to stop blowing)

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Jetski Angel