Summary: The ripples of our life choices continue for good or ill, long after the splash of that choice was originally made.
Roots, Ripples and Reference Points
Lessons from the Lake, Part 2
August 12, 2012
One of the things my youngest daughter Laura and I used to do, when we were at her grandparents’ lake house on Beaver Lake in NW Arkansas, is skip stones on the lake. There are a lot of stones on the shoreline – in fact, it’s a rocky shore, and that’s pretty much all there is – no sandy beaches here. So we’d look for flat rocks on the shore, better for skipping.
Another thing we did was throw bigger stones to make a splash. Especially when the water’s still. When it’s still, is the best kind of water for skipping, and the best for splashing, because the splash is more noticeable, and the ripples go on and on.
One time when we were there, I watched the ripples from a splash, and noticed how far they went. Even when it wasn’t even a particularly big splash, the ripples, though they got less pronounced, further from the splash point, went on for quite a while. They continued long after the splash was no longer visible at all.
I began to think about this idea of ripples, and how the individual choices we make in our lives, are like the splash, which only lasts for a moment.
But the ripples, or the consequences, of that splash, or choice, sometimes last for days, weeks, months, even years, depending on the context of the splash, or choice.
So, this morning, those of you who were here a few weeks ago, will remember that I promised you part 2 of the Lessons from the Lake. Part 1 was about roots – we won’t review that this morning, you’ll have to wait until the movie comes out.
This morning is part 2 of Roots, Ripples and Reference Points, Lessons from the Lake.
Really, you don’t have to have heard part 1 for this to make sense, as the only thing tying these messages together is the fact that I got the ideas for these messages at my in-laws’ lake house. I’m hoping by showing the elders how inspired I am at the lake house, they’ll encourage me to go there more often.
Tom Buck told me once that he thinks this is just my spiritual excuse for going to the lake. In fact, later this afternoon, Barb and I are heading over there for vacation. Joel asked me when I begin my vacation, and I told him it begins as soon as I say amen in the prayer to close the sermon this Sunday.
Anyway, as I thought about this idea, and began to study the idea of the consequences of the choices we make in life, I found that scripture is literally chock full of this idea of ripple effects. Especially in Proverbs, but even well beyond that book, there’s a clear connection between the things we do, the choices we make…..and what happens in our lives, for good or ill, because of, or in part as a result of, those choices.
When we make good choices, good consequences often follow. When we make bad choices, bad consequences generally follow.
I say generally, because it’s clear that bad things happen to believers, and good things happen to unbelievers, at least in this life.
It’s also clear that God’s in charge, and He can divert ripples, or create a bigger ripple that overcomes the smaller ripple of our bad choices – we’ll examine that idea later as well.
So this is a general principle, not a hard and fast rule, and not an undeniable promise we can cling to. That’s important to remember, because some Christians have taken these principles that are meant to be proverbial and general truisms clearly present in Scripture for us to pay attention to, but they’ve made a formula out of them.
Nevertheless, it’s spoken of enough in scripture to pay attention to it, to make it worth examining here this morning, and we ignore it at our peril.
Now, the word ripple is never used in any version of scripture I could find. Neither is the word consequence, except in paraphrases. But, we can find other words that express the same basic idea. When we do that, and think of words like fruit, wages, effect, reward, we find, again, that this is a pervasive theme in scripture.
We’re going to take a quick look at many of these passages this morning. Here’s a passage that clearly expresses this idea, but you have to be thinking in these terms to see it.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.