Journey: Ripple Effect

Read:  Spirit Conspiracy

The coming of the Holy Spirit was like a big divine rock dropped into the lake of life.  Like any splash, it created a ripple effect which continues to this day.  In this week’s chapter, McLaren describes the expansion exactly like it happens in our lives.

First, the Spirit moves from the near to the farther away.  Jesus said the Kingdom of God is “at hand.”  Among other things it means that it is nearby, within reach.  Our primary territory is the one we live in everyday–the routine places, repeated relationships, and recurring responsibilities.  Rather than apologizing for ministering close to home, we should rejoice that we recognize it is where the Spirit moves initially.  Unfortunately, some Christians and churches travel great distances to do ministry, leaving those closest to home uncared for.

Second, the Spirit moves from the known to the unknown.  Most of us have enough friends, neighbors, and colleagues to fill our prayer lists and our days.  Again, no apology needed for caring for those we know best.  In fact, it will often be through those we know that God connects us with those we do not know.

Finally, the Spirit moves from the safe to the challenging.  The ordinary acts of compassion and kindness are legitimate in and of themselves.  Just because something is simple does not meant it isn’t sacred. Easy things train us in godliness that can take us into unfamiliar and more-risky areas of service at another time.

Taking it all together, the Spirit moves us little-by-little.  Each ministry has self-contained value, but also has seeds in it that can take us beyond a particular time and place.  The only requirement is that we do something for Jesus–here and now.  If God has something “there and later” in mind for us, we will know it when the time is right.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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