At 5:16pm on November 9, 1965, a relay that had been inadvertently set too low a few days before was tripped at the Sir Adam Beck Power Station on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. By 5:27pm New York City was without power. An estimated 8,000 people were trapped in the subways. Traffic lights went out and brought traffic to a screeching halt. 250 flights into JFK Airport were diverted. The entire Northeast Power Grid had gone down. The blackout covered 80,000 square miles and over 25 million people were without power. It was dubbed “the day when the lights went out,” and it all happened because of a single relay!
We call that “The Ripple Effect.” One seemingly small thing impacts several other things, which in turn impact several more things each, etc.
Paul wrote that “…none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone” (Romans 14:7). John Donne later echoed this sentiment, writing “no man is an island.” And great thinkers throughout time have continued to point out this inevitable truth. We affect one another as we interact in daily life. No one lives in isolation. No one can truly keep to himself. We all cause a ripple effect of our own each day. How far out do the ripples of our own actions go? It’s hard to tell.
One thing is for sure, though. There has never been, nor will there ever be a ripple effect like the one caused by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. His life and sacrifice have touched so many people in a significant and eternal way.
We can never know all the ways we impact those around us, but we can strive to be sure that, like Jesus, the influence we have is a positive one. The Bible teaches us that we must avoid sin, and strive—through acts of charity, faith, and kindness—to do our best to inspire goodness in others one ripple at a time (Matthew 5:16; Luke 17:2).
-Adapted from Steve Norris