Ripple Effect 2017
Small things have massive potential.
Like a stone tossed in a pond, small things tend to ripple out and have a bigger impact than we think. Our spiritual journey is a lot like that. Oftentimes, the work God is doing in us is bigger than it initially looks.
Scripture teaches us this idea by comparing the work God is doing in our lives to that of a small seed. In fact, Jesus used this comparison A LOT. I think the reason Jesus loved using the analogy of a seed is that the stages of God’s work in our lives mirror that of a seed.
“How?” you ask? Well, seeds are small things that get stuck in the ground. And I can definitely relate to feeling small and stuck.
Have you ever felt small? Maybe you’re in a season of life where you feel insufficient or insignificant. Your self-esteem or lack of confidence is keeping you from God’s best.
What about feeling stuck? Maybe things aren’t going the way you planned or progressing as quickly as you wanted, and you’re starting to feel stuck, discouraged or distracted. If that’s you, then I think you and I can learn a lot from a seed.
Let’s explore the three stages of a seed and learn what steps we can take when we find ourselves in one of these stages.
STAGE #1: Seeds start small
Here’s the reality: Seeds aren’t sexy.
We tend to hate on humble beginnings. Our tendency is to judge things purely by their outward appearance. But the first thing we can learn from a seed is that not everything powerful is instagrammable. And not everything explosive looks impressive.
This same idea applies to us! Some of us come from humble beginnings. But it’s not just about where you begin, it’s about the work God’s is doing and who you are becoming.
God sees you differently than you see yourself. That’s good news for all of us who feel small, insufficient and insignificant like a seed. We see the seed. God sees the tree inside the seed. When God looks at us, he doesn’t just see our smallness or shortcomings, he sees massive potential that he planted inside each us, even when we can’t see it.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“If you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible…”
with God, that’s true!
All throughout the Bible God sees hidden potential in people others overlook and he uses them to do things no one could have predicted.
- God sees the hope of the world in the barren womb of a woman named Sarai.
- God sees a King inside a shepherd named David.
- God sees a General inside a man in hiding named Gideon.
- He makes disciples out of fishermen.
- He brings saviours out of mangers.
- He uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.
- And the weak things to shame the strong.
God sees us differently than we see ourselves. Seeds may start small but they have MASSIVE potential.
When we find ourselves in stage one, we need to get God’s perspective on our potential.
STAGE #2: Seeds grow slow
During the process of a seed, it can seem like nothing is happening. And sometimes, it can feel the same way in our lives.
Our culture teaches us to expect instant gratification and immediate notification of progress. We expect everything to happen quickly. And when it doesn’t and we don’t see progress, we feel impatient, disappointed, and discouraged.
We may even want to give up entirely.
Sometimes we try to rush things God doesn’t want to rush. But quick success isn’t what’s best for us.
God loves us enough to make us wait. I truly believe that God will give us success when the soil of our hearts can sustain it. The Seed may be growing slow but we have to trust God that it’s actually right on schedule.
“No matter how much talent or effort someone has, some things just take time.”
So what do we do when it seems like the seed of God’s work in our lives is growing slow? Trust God and patiently persevere in the process.
There’s a passage of scripture in Galatians that speaks to this:
7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.
Galatians 6:7-9 (MSG)
We have to change our expectation from seeing immediate progress to patiently persevering in the process. In the Christian life, progress isn’t always visible. But God is always doing more than we think He is under the surface.
As we patiently persevere in the process God develops his character in us. And if we don’t give up or quit, we will reap a harvest! Because if we don’t lose heart or give up, we’ll get to experience the third and final stage of a seed…
STAGE #3: Seeds eventually sprout
The seed of God’s work in you may start small and it may grow slow, but eventually it will sprout out. And when it does, when God’s work in your lives culminates, it’s going to be something beautiful.
Just like a plant or a tree, when God’s work comes full circle in your life you’ll be able to reproduce. That means you’ll make an impact and help others in their process. And that’s how we produce a powerful ripple effect.
Here’s a verse you can hold onto as a promise in your process:
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
If you’re feeling small, insufficient & insignificant, you’re not alone. But I pray you’d begin to catch God’s your perspective on yout potential.
If you’re feeling stuck, discouraged or distracted, I know what that’s like. But I pray you’d seek God for the power to patiently persevere in the process.
Because if we don’t quit, we can achieve our potential, live lives of purpose and produce a powerful ripple effect.
Listen to the full podcast here:
Podcast – Ripple Effect Week 5