Monday Morning Devotion-April 10, 2023
The Ripple Effect
Benaiah, son of Johoiada, a valiant fighter…went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 2 Samuel 23:20-21
*reprised from July 16, 2018
"You are one encounter away from your destiny. One off-the-cuff conversation, one crazy idea or one glance across a crowded room can change everything."
How do you feel about that statement? Maybe you have already experienced that happening. Or perhaps you are waiting for something dramatic like that to occur. It could be that you think that statement is simply "hogwash."
I read it in Mark Batterson's book; "Chase the Lion." You know the book based on that one short---very short---Biblical story about a guy named Benaiah who chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day. That's right he chased the lion, not the other way around. Certainly got King David's attention. Somebody that brave (or foolish, depending on the reason) certainly deserved a promotion. Benaiah became chief of the palace guards.
That encounter certainly became the "inciting incident" in Benaiah's life story. What's yours? Has it occurred yet or is that dream still out there?
"In every storyline there are defining moments. The technical term, in terms of plot structure is inciting incident."
In a book or movie "the inciting incident is an episode, plot point or event that hooks the reader into the story. This particular moment is when an event thrusts the protagonist into the main action of the story."
In the classic movie: The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy gets caught up in a cyclone that roars through Kansas and whisks her away. This movie can still be seen 80 years later. (August 25, 1939). Pretty strong inciting incident, uh cyclone…about $23.3 million at the box office.
Updating that story to 2023 our granddaughter Ellee is appearing in a play based on the Wizard of Oz at Young Actors. She has the role of the Cowardly Lion. I’m interested (and anxious) to see how she pulls that off because she is anything BUT cowardly. Anyway, the Wizard story should become even more epic after this performance.
To live an epic life, you have to overcome epic challenges.
In order to be successful, we are going to have to negotiate our way through some tricky igniting incidents. Batterson says that there are two basic varieties of these inciting incidences we could face. One is when things that happen to us that we cannot control. The other is things that you make happen that you can control.
If something is out of your control, you can still control your reaction. You might not be "responsible but you are response-able. " It's that ability to choose your response that will likely determine your destiny.
Well-managed failure is the leading cause of success whereas mismanaged-success is the leading cause of failure.
Batterson points out that "you can't steal second base if you keep your foot on first base” Maybe something has handicapped you for too long and it is time to "do something." Start managing that failure and turn it into success. It may take, as Napoleon once described it, "some two-o'clock-in-the-morning-courage." Whatever it takes, make that first step.
These inciting incidents in our lives can come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are bold and brash others may be subtle and gentle.
A major inciting incident for the Israelites came at Jericho. It was their first battle after they had crossed into the long-ago Promised Land. It was the turning point in their story.
What caused it to turn? It was an act of kindness---by a prostitute. In Joshua 2 we read that the Israelites sent two spies into Jericho to scope things out and they were nearly captured. Rahab risked her life by hiding the two spies.
Before she hid them, she cut a deal with them that she would help them escape if they would return the favor and show kindness to her. She wanted them to spare her family when they captured Jericho, and they did.
You never can tell when you commit or receive an act of kindness when the favor will be repaid. But you can pretty much count on its having a ripple effect. For example, in this case the kindness was repaid to Rahab and her family was spared.
In turn Rahab fell in love with Salmon, a Jewish man from the tribe of Judah. Batterson points out that they had a son named Boaz, who had a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse, who had a son named David. And you know who came from the lineage of David…yep, Jesus.
It was kinda like the ad that Kodak cameras ran on TV that said their camera was "the gift that keeps on giving." Obviously because it captures the moment in pictures that can be given as a gift.
Every act of kindness has a ripple effect. Some make larger waves than others. The true measure of a gift is what you gave up to give it. Big dreams can start with small acts of kindness.
Be kind to someone and you set in motion a ripple of kindness that you have no way of knowing how far it will go.
"Big or small, good or bad, a handful of experiences influence the way we see ourselves, the way we see life. It's not until we inventory our inciting incidents that we begin to see why we do what we do," said Batterson.
If you take an inventory of God's faithfulness you can draw faith from those past successes, past miracles, and past blessings. The good news is that God's faithfulness cannot be overdrawn!
Those inciting incidences in your life, and the ones that God prompts you to set in motion, will grow and grow due to the ripple effect created. After all, it is the gift that keeps on giving.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the beautiful ripple effects set in motion by your many acts of kindness and the way they act as positive inciting incidences in our lives. Amen