Janice and I were on Lake Lanier the other day when all of a sudden she said, “Did you see that fish jump over there?”
I said, “No I didn’t see him, but I see the rings where he jumped.” Though I didn’t see the actual fish I did see the results of his impact on the water.
When I was a boy I used to love throwing rocks in the water or skipping a stone across the surface of the water. I’m not sure what it is about this that is fascinating, but I always liked to do it in a still south Alabama farm pond where I used to fish as a boy. It was fun to throw a stone out in the middle of the pond and watch the rings as they moved outward from the place of impact until they touched the shoreline. You know what I am talking about. I am sure you have done it many times as well.
When I think about that, I think about spiritual influence. The moment of impact may come from something wonderful that you do for another person, an act of Christian stewardship that blesses God’s Kingdom ministry, a sermon you preach, a testimony you give, or a witness you declare. The exciting thing is that when you have a spiritual impact, while others may not see the actual event, they may be able to see the rings of influence that move out from that moment of your ministry.
I want to illustrate this by sharing with you a handwritten note that I received from my friend and fellow state executive director, Dr. John L. Yeats. Dr. Yeats is the executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Recently he wrote, “Bob, Thank you so very much for the Georgia response to our flooding in Missouri. It was … it is, a mess, but the pain is alleviated to a certain extent by the faithful Disaster Relief volunteers from Georgia. Please relay to them our deepest gratitude for their relief work. We don’t yet know what the rebuild will look like, but I hope it’s on higher ground. Several great stories abound about how the Holy Spirit quickened some hardened hearts with the gospel message. Thanks again for the vision of Georgia Baptists to engage in our cooperative work of bringing help, hope and healing in the name of Jesus. John”
While you may not have been one of those Disaster Relief workers, as you read the content of this personal note from Dr. Yeats you can see the resulting rings of influence moving out from that moment of impact. The truth is we never know the fullest extent of the effect of our ministry on others.
Your spiritual influence sends rings out to the ends of the earth as you work among other nations and people groups through the ministries of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
Dr. Will Bacon, who serves as president and CEO of our Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation, recently wrote, “When I was serving in France, I used to hear the President of the Foreign Mission Board say that Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program gifts never sleep. It is a joy to know that the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation funds, as well, are working even when we may not be aware.” Then, Dr. Bacon shared with me a note he recently received regarding the impact of Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry funds at work all the way across the world.
Dear Dr. Bacon:
Greetings in Jesus’ name.
Starting from mid-March to the end of April, there have been 129 baptisms in our ministry in various churches and congregations. Most of these have taken place in Bihar and Western Odisha, where the Jesus Film, Scripture distributions into local language and ministry through mobile healthcare services have been taking place.
It is against the law to proselytize in these states and there are very serious consequences for violating the law. We are very careful not to do anything prohibited by the law of the land while sharing the Good News of Jesus to those who wish to hear and respond according to their free will. The Holy Spirit is at work even though the ground situation might be adverse. There are many more ready and waiting for water baptism.
We would like you to praise God with us for what HE is doing in this nation, and you have a great share in this harvest.
Thank you for your partnership and prayers.
God bless you.
Those 129 baptisms in a place far, far away from Georgia have happened because of your faithfulness and generous mission support.
While you and I may not have been there to see the fish jump, we can see the results of the impact as the rings of influence continue to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and people are being saved.
I am reminded of the little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus. Jesus blessed it and fed thousands. Let’s not miss the reality that when we give what we have to Jesus there is no way for us to know or to understand how far-reaching is the influence of that spiritual impact.