As a child, did you ever create a Domino maze? You know the kind where you set up as many dominoes in perfect proximity to each other as you can so that when you tip one they all fall in succession? There are some pretty elaborate displays on You Tube. In fact, one of my favorites I found there took 25 hours to build and used 15,000 Dominoes. In your free time, I encourage you to go watch a couple. As I recently watched those Dominoes fall, starting with only one and then literally the entire maze crumbling under itself, I couldn’t help but think how much our lives are much like those Dominoes.
Over the past couple of weeks, some things made our National news that prompted strong opinions from many people. One was the Superbowl halftime show featuring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez that sent folks running to one side or the other in the exploitation of women debate. Another was the State of the Union address exposing a political climate that has arguably never been more polarizing. As I scrolled through social media and the television stations following these events, it seemed that there were VERY strong opinions being shared and not always expressed in the most positive of ways. As I took in the opinions from both sides, equally believing theirs was right and the other wrong, it caused me to pause and wonder what good, if any, comes out of that kind of public, angry expression? Who is the intended audience and how much influence can someone have using a tweet or post as their method of communication?
In the days that followed, as I was reading in the book of Exodus, I was reminded in chapter 20 verse 6 that God promises to “lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love (Him) and obey (His) commands.” A THOUSAND generations. This scripture is evidence that we all have the potential for monumental impact, but we have to ask, how does that influence come about? For me, I believe my most impactful point of influence is similar to touching that first Domino. I may not directly touch the 15,000th one….but by touching the one that touches the one right beside it which eventually leads to the tumbling of the entire maze, my influence extends far beyond my reach. We are all far more influential than we realize….and with great impact must come great responsibility.
In her book, Made for This, Jennie Allen says, “Think about how you spend your minutes and your days, because eventually the minutes and the days equal our lives.” No matter where you are in life right now…..a young woman, a new mother, a career woman, a parent of teens, an empty nester, a grandmother or a great grandmother, you have influence in the life of someone. If you work in the medical field, the education field, ministry, stay at home, the business world, or somewhere else, you have a circle of influence. And just like that first Domino, you have the potential to create some motion in the lives of others. I’d like to suggest that if we want to effect big change in our world, rather than putting out angry messages on a social forum, we might choose to start there. Start with the people we do life with. If we feel strongly about a social issue, make sure that our days and minutes count as we work to change the climate around us. I believe our real influence is within our own families and small circle of friends and by forming genuine relationships with people who may not always agree with us, we can begin to open our hearts and minds to allow disagreements that don’t lead to hate and division among one another.
I doubt that it will look like this, but wouldn’t it be cool to get to Heaven and see our own Domino maze in motion? Wouldn’t it be cool for God to say, look at how much influence you had and how you used it…..well done! Or would He more likely have to say, look at how you wasted this opportunity and this opportunity and this opportunity? Oh how it hurts my heart to think about that. May we never forget we have the chance to influence a thousand generations by influencing the one we are in right now. Let’s not waste a single moment.