The Butterfly Effect

There’s a theory you may have heard of called “The Butterfly Effect”. Not to be confused with the very forgettable movie, but the idea is basically this:

Small actions can have larger, more complex effects.

I’m not totally down with what these scientists believe regarding a butterfly’s wings, but I do believe small actions can have a larger effect on others especially when God is involved.

Several scientists over many years have held to the idea that something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings could cause effects elsewhere around the world. The flap of the wings can cause a change in the atmosphere that has a ripple effect.

We place a lot of attention on the end result, usually baptism, but often it seems to overlook actions leading up to that. Is it possible we’re too focused on the final outcome and miss the small things that plant seeds and point people to God? Things we may never see the outcome of?

Imagine, as Christians, the “small actions” we can do that can have huge impacts on the kingdom. Yes, we can do bad “small actions”, but I’m talking about putting our faith into action and seizing moments, even if they seem small and insignificant or even forgettable.

I believe Matthew 25:31-46 is a living example of the butterfly effect. At the end of our lives, we all stand before Jesus and watch as he separates all of us (“all nations”) into two groups – those who do and those who don’t.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

I’ve always read this passage as doing without even thinking about it – “Lord, when did we ___?”

You serve, and help, and pray, and give, and minister, and…out of love for others and for no other reason. You do so naturally you don’t even realize it. And…AND…without thinking of the end result.

It’s all about the now and allowing God to work on the after.

Small actions can have bigger effects.


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