Today’s reading is drawn from Acts 8:35-37.
“Ben” was a nineteen-year-old who had experienced more than his fair share of tragedy. When he was thirteen, he discovered the body of his father in his home office. His dad had committed suicide by blowing out his brains with a shotgun. For years, Ben carried the burden of that scene around with him.
One day my brother Jase was invited to give a Bible study on a houseboat where Ben’s brother lived on the river. Ben and several others happened to be there, and Jase shared the news that Jesus had died for them, to remove their sin and pain. His death made a way for them to get to heaven.
The whole time Jase was reading from the Bible and teaching about Jesus, Ben sat still as a stone, staring at the floor. When the study was over, Jase asked if anyone wanted to give their heart to Jesus and get baptized in the river. The owner of the houseboat said, “Let me think about it.” That was pretty much the sentiment of the group . . . although Ben still hadn’t moved or said a word. Jase sensed that Ben was wrestling with what he had heard, but he didn’t push it.
Jase thanked his audience for the chance to share his faith and then took off for downtown Monroe, Louisiana. You can imagine his surprise when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw a sports car racing up the road, closing in on his tail. He wondered who the crazy maniac was who was driving like that. Jase pulled over to avoid a collision—only to discover that it was Ben behind the wheel. Evidently the message of the Bible study had reached Ben’s heart, and Ben didn’t want to wait another minute to get right with God. So he literally ran Jase down and, like the eunuch in Acts 8, asked to be baptized that very minute in the river.
The story doesn’t end there.
Not long after Ben was converted, his brother, his sister, and his mother—their entire family—wound up getting saved. You might say Ben was the first domino of faith that changed the eternal destiny of his loved ones. That’s what I call the “ripple effect” of the gospel. Think of it like this: if you’ve ever thrown a pebble in a pool of calm water, what happens? One by one, ring-shaped wavelets move outward from the center, creating an impact far beyond the initial point of contact. When we, like Jase, make ourselves available to tell others about what Jesus has done for us, lives change . . . and changed lives change lives.