The Ripple Effect…
Recently, I have been struck by how much seemingly unconnected events are really related. This is not a new concept to me but something that has really come into focus lately as I reflect back on my career.
Whenever I speak to groups of people, particularly those who are looking for work, I am quick to point out that there is great value in helping one another. Now this doesn’t mean that you are to charge ahead with wild abandon without regard to your own well being. Nor does it mean that you are to help others with complete disregard for your own situation, but it does mean that God wants us to reach out and help one another whenever we can – if it is within our means without damaging ourselves in the process.
One group in society even believes that you should always help others if there is a greater chance of saving a life than losing your own. While this may be fine in a crisis emergency situation, most of what I have experienced during my many years in the corporate community is less intense. In fact, rarely have I encountered any sort of physical risk when trying to help others.
You also don’t know know how a good deed may benefit others down the road or how a blessing may come back to you in the process. One thing I know for sure. My ministry partners, Roger and Rich, have worked with me for many years. We have assisted hundreds, if not thousands, of people in their quest to find employment and even though it wasn’t my intention to experience any personal gain from the effort, I can’t count the number of times that an act of kindness came back to me through some ripple effect.
In fact, every major piece of consulting business that I have ever had is the direct result of helping somebody free of charge. Whether it was meeting for a lunch to offer advice, coaching somebody who was struggling with a career search or just doing an act of kindness or compassion, I have always had the kindness returned to me eventually. And it’s not that I have looked for a return – that doesn’t enter my mind. But it does go to the motivation to help another person. We have to reach out and help others with a pure heart.
This isn’t about helping ourselves – like on a sales call or trying to predict how you will influence a situation for your own benefit. I am talking about the idea of exhibiting a Christ like attitude – without selfish motivation – to authentically and genuinely help people in need.
I have even taken the somewhat unusual step of never setting a price for the first three months of a new consulting assignment. Yep – I always charge something but the amount is left up to the client and then we sit down and evaluate the benefit to them after the first ninety days. And you know what? I have never failed to have a relationship with someone who has engaged me through that process.
The truth of the matter is that you never know how God is going to pay a kindness forward. It may be that somebody else benefits greatly, or a member of your own family is eventually blessed. God’s ways are so different from our ways that we can’t even predict how helping in some small way will be multiplied in some divine way to produce unfathomable results in short order.
We can’t understand the mind of God – of how He will take our small act of helping and turn it into some magnificent work that defies logic. That’s because we can’t think as grand as God thinks and we don’t have the knowledge to put together all the pieces of the puzzle. We are limited by our humanity. But that means that while we may sow seeds of helping others, we may never see the result of our help. And that’s okay also.
There are many verses that I could use this evening. The Scripture is full of encouragement to launch us on our missions of mercy. We live in a broken world and where our gifts meet the broken people and places of the world, we can change the outcome for many hurting people. Our verse for this evening highlights Paul’s comments to the church at Ephesus. He tells us, in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Notice that Paul tells us that we were created in Jesus to DO GOOD WORKS… that means helping others. Furthermore, my encouragement tonight is that God prepared us for these tasks in advance – and God would never send us to do something that He had not equipped us to accomplish. My prayer is that we will all be more attentive to recognizing our responsibility as Christians to create a small ripple in the lives of those around us. We may never know how God will use our initiative and multiply it to the glory of God Himself. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…