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The Ripple Effect
Photo: Jeroen Koomen
I sat down at my computer the other day and did a search for a pastor I had known as a child. What is he doing now? I wondered. Of all the pastors of my childhood, he had made the biggest impression on me. I still remember clearly one of his sermons (one of the very few that I remember from my childhood days in church). 

As I thought about that, I began to think back and remember some of the people that had made a tremendous impact on my life as I was growing up. Some of those that came to mind are still cherished friends. Friends that I know I could go to anytime and they would be there with advice and friendship. Some though, would probably have to think awhile to remember who I was and how our paths had intersected.

I remember a pastor’s wife I knew as a teenager and how her love and acceptance of our church family, which at the time had been termed “ultra conservative” by a previous pastor’s wife, had changed my whole view of what it truly means to be a Christian. I have no idea where she is now, it is likely she would not remember me at all, but Christ’s love that I saw in her touched my life and the influence of that remains with me to this day.

Leave Its Mark

It both thrills and sobers me to think about the impact we have on others, some that we realize and much that we never know. A favorite author compares our influence with a stone dropped in a still lake. The ripples from a small stone can extend till they cover the entire surface. An encouraging word, patience in spite of difficulties, a willingness to be real and authentic, a spirit of love and acceptance, can touch a life and from that life  touch literally millions of others as the ripples widen. Just so, a negative spirit, however manifested, will leave its mark on many.

Now that I have teenagers of my own, I rejoice when others come along beside them, take an interest in them and influence their lives in positive ways. As I look around at the young and not so young around me, I ask myself, “What impact am I making on those that I interact with daily and those that I may cross paths with for only a brief moment in time?” I pray that my influence on others will be such that the ripples created will continue on for all eternity!

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By Leslie Olin. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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