In Mark Batterson’s book, All In, he tells the story of a hypothesis presented to the New York Academy of Science by MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz in 1963. His hypothesis was entitled “The Butterfly Effect” and theorized that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings could conceivably alter wind currents to cause a tornado in Texas. Sounds pretty bizarre, right?
Lorenz had designed a prototype computer program to simulate and forecast weather. We all know how often meteorologists accurately predict the weather. Lorenz hoped to improve such efforts with his program. On a day when he was running late for a meeting, he had hurriedly entered a wrong number in his calculations. Instead of entering .506127, the number he had used in previous trials, he rounded to the nearest thousandth – .506. He figured it wouldn’t make any difference, but it did. The numerical difference in his simulation was the equivalent of a puff of wind, but the net difference was the equivalent of a catastrophic weather event. His conclusion: “Miniscule changes in input can make a macroscopic difference in output.”
I’m certain that such a revelation will significantly impact your day as you read this, but stay with me for a moment. What’s true in science is also true in life. Many of us think we are not important enough, not influential enough, but what happens when we really take our lives seriously? Batterson continued: “This simple discovery has the power to change your life. It can radically alter your spiritual, emotional, relational, or financial forecast. One decision. One change. One risk. One idea. That’s all it takes.”
What puff of wind can you create? By word or deed, what shift might begin to occur because we seized the moment? If we are to truly put on the character of Christ, there are divine appointments awaiting us every day. With His leadership, we can affect change in our world. Let’s pray together that we will heed the words of Paul: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7)
As a part of our Leadership Retreat in November (7-9 with Doug Dortch), we will introduce a spiritual gift assessment tool and process to help our congregation discover and explore their gifts and passion for ministry. Who knows? We might help change your puff of wind to a mighty gale!