Created by God…
We are each born for greatness.
We are born to make a difference.
We are born with gifts uniquely matched for our God-assignment.
We each have a ripple effect, touching others beyond our reach, beyond our life’s stone cast across the water into ripples on a pond.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.
You don’t have to do something great or be someone great to have a ripple effect on others…
Just a desire to change the world for one.
The ripple effect of his life’s stone cast across the pond went as far as eyes could see into the sunset.
The years will continue to tell his story thru the ripple effect of those he touched down stream when one-changed-life affects change for another, and then another.
Stopped in my tracks when I caught a sound-bite of him through the open Dutch-door one Sunday morning attending this church for the first time thirty-three years ago, as I looked to find the age appropriate class for my young daughter that day.
Peeking in, I jumped as he startled me with those military commands to put his nursery age class in formation, preparing them to march, as they were now drafted into the Army of God; or should I say, Marines.
My daughter was late finding her class as we stayed and watched in awe this Marine guy and his Second-in-Command (wife) get this platoon in diapers ready for war.
A few soldiers walked, with Mr. Marine army-crawling on the floor with the other recruits.
As usual in the nursery, the children begin missing their parents and Mr. Marine comforts them as good Marine’s do.
“There’s no crying in the military”,
Then diverts their attention by detonating bombs of Cheerios.
“INCOMING…INCOMING…soldiers take cover”.
There were a few causalities when the urgent call sounded,
“Medic, I need a Medic…”
As Mr. Marine handed those soldiers with explosions of their own to his Second-in-Command and sending them to the infirmary.
This Marine guy went into the trenches with his platoon, loving these small soldiers and casting his life’s stone across the pond of their lives, creating rippling effects for years to come as they grew.
I left that military zone with a smile on this single woman’s face, wondering if Mr. Marine had any brothers for me.
Imagine thinking such things in church.
Mr. Marine did have a name; it was Gunnery Sgt. Joe to the United States of America.
Sgt. Joe cast his life’s stone into many ponds, thus widening the rippling effects of the lives he touched with a soldier’s love, kindness, and even military toughness when necessary.
Sgt. Joe was a husband of forty-plus years to his wife, a father to two daughters, a grandfather to six, a teacher and mentor to men and marriages, and an elder at church.
Sgt. Joe was one brother among five.
Sgt. Joe was Uncle Joe to two generations of nieces and nephews who were crazy about him.
Sgt. Joe was Mr. Joe to a decade of school bus children; a world-changer to them one life at a time.
Sgt. Joe was also a matchmaker, as he did have a brother when I wondered that first day in church. David and I met and married five years later, with Sgt. Joe officiating our 25th Wedding Anniversary Renewal.
Twenty-seven years go by and we’re witnessing once again the rippling effects of Sgt. Joe’s life while standing to receive the guests of his memorial service, those waiting in line for an hour at minimum, a line which wrapped around our church foyer and never emptied until the service began, a tribute to the ripples in his life’s pond that stretched as far as eyes could see into the sunset.
Yes, it’s true, you don’t have to do something great or be someone great to have a ripple effect on others…