Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. 17 This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us...
1 John 4:16-17 (MSG)

Chaos theorists (yes there really are people like that, academically, and then there are parents of multiple children) see the universe as a series of random occurrences that form a whole. The "Butterfly Effect" is the idea that one event, though insignificant by itself, can effect change due to its impact on other events.

I see that happen all the time.

When one person cares.

I once saw a young Mother who was putting her infant into the baby seat in the rear seat of her SUV. As she moved her baby from stroller to seat, she paused and for a good 10 seconds, kissed it again and again, all the while smiling and telling the baby "do you know how much Mommy loves you?" Well it may be early for the baby to completely grasp that concept, but I'll bet he or she is well on the way - and this observer is there already. I doubt either will remember that brief interlude, but assuming it's only one of many that have occurred and that will occur - it will make a difference. It will influence change. It will have an impact far greater than that Mom ever imagined.

Her child will grow up knowing he is loved.

I got back to church, and I was still thinking about that incident as I'm walking out to change the sign. And how if everyone could just grasp how much God loves them - How He longs to have a relationship with them based on His love and our trust and obedience - oh what a difference it would make! There are so many little events around us that point to His goodness and His grace.

But too many are too busy to care, or too invested in the cult of self to ever admit they need a Savior. Still, people like ours here at New Hope, and other Christian churches throughout the world will keep on loving God and loving people, hoping that on some days, something we do will literally change the world.

Walking back from the sign, a Monarch butterfly flew by.

Made me smile.

First one I've seen this year. But it won't be the last, because this is the time of year when thousands of Monarchs are migrating to South America and come through here. So when you see one, you know - you can be sure - that many, many more are on their way.

What if random acts of kindness - of small acts done with great love - are like that?

What if your extra effort to care, or my going the extra mile to love could be the first of countless other expressions?

What if people got the idea that people who follow Jesus are loving, and kind, and what if they wanted to know why? We could tell them about Jesus and invite them along on the journey with Him.

Decide to be part of God's grand design - change the world.

Do something big or small, with great love. Something beautiful, for God.

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