“9 Don’t pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, give blessing in return. You were called to do this so that you might inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 CEB
Picture a sunny afternoon with the shadows growing longer. The air is crisp and there is not a cloud in the sky. The water on the lake is growing smooth as the afternoon breeze begins to give way to the stillness of evening. On the lakeshore are stones that have been smoothed by the water lapping over them. One by one they are selected carefully for their smoothness, shape, size, and weight. When all the stones have been selected the contest begins. One by one the competitors line up and throw their stones across the water. One … two … three … four skips across the water. Who would be the one who could skip the smooth stone across the water the highest number of times? As a young boy I would spend hours skipping stones across the water of Lake Mecosta in Michigan. Our family owned a cottage on Lake Mecosta. It was challenging and fun to me to see how many times a smooth stone, thrown just right, would skip across the still water. Each time the stone touched the water it would splash slightly and then the water would ripple out from the center creating circle after circle along the way. These circles reminded me of lily pads along the water.
The ripple effect of a stone touching the water has been used to show that every action has an effect. A stone touching the water disturbs the surface of the water and creates ripples. Those ripples create more ripples. The effect goes on until the energy runs out. Isn’t this true in life as well? It seems that everything we do has an effect, which creates ripples of activity. This was the main idea behind the Volkswagen commercial where one nice gesture or act inspired another and another and another. At the end of the ad there were a handful of kind gestures that had all begun with one person doing something kind. It may be known as the ripple effect. So, what is the ripple effect of your life? How have the actions of your life created ripples? Are those ripples positive?
As I consider what the Apostle Peter has written in chapter three of his first letter, I think of the ripple effect. Peter wrote, “Don’t pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, give blessing in return. You were called to do this so that you might inherit a blessing.” An evil action will cause ripples of evil. Unless there is an effort to change the course. Peter says we have the power in Jesus Christ to alter the course of the ripples heading in our direction. If there are negative, evil ripples we can throw a stone on the water and create ripples of blessing. In essence this was the life of Jesus. Jesus was the stone that created ripples of blessing in the world. Jesus is the cornerstone that God the Father tossed into the water of creation to create the ripples of blessing that would forever change the course of human history (and eternity). Peter says that we are to seek to have this kind of positive, Christ-like influence on the world in which we live. We are not Jesus—I know that is no surprise to you—but we are to strive to be like Jesus. When we choose to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life we are called to be like him. To love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love others. In other words, to make ripples.
How will your life make ripples today? How will you seek to be more like Jesus today? Look for places where you can throw a smooth stone in the water today. If we each decide to make positive, Christ-like ripples in our life today we may never know how far reaching those ripples may be. Throw your stones in the water and see how many ripples you can make for Christ. You may never know how many blessings you may release into the world today—just through your ripples.
This Sunday we continue the message series entitled “Chosen.” We will explore the way we are chosen by Jesus and implications of being set apart as strangers in the world. We continue to explore living as chosen people as we continue in the New Testament books of 1 and 2 Peter. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 for worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!