I recently preached a sermon series entitled The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss. We explored five children’s stories by the popular author. Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! ranks among my favorite books by Theodor Geisel. Although Geisel normally used the pseudonym of Dr. Seuss, he published the 1975 book under the name of Rosetta Stone.
Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! teaches what appears to be a simple lesson that even preschool children can understand: actions always have consequences.
A fundamental law of creation is the principle of cause and effect. If I do THIS, then THAT will happen. If you select THIS button on the vending machine, then THAT will come out. 1 + 2 = 3. A + B = C.
It’s the domino principle of life. Push one domino and others begin to fall. One thing leads to another and another and another . . . oftentimes with unforeseen results.
In a world governed by the law of cause and effect, here is an important corollary principle: inconsequential actions do not exist. All we do affects ourselves and others. The person that mutters, “Well, I’m hurting only myself,” has not discovered this basic truth. Everything and everyone are interrelated. Seemingly small events can have huge consequences.
A prime tenet of Chaos Theory is The Butterfly Effect. In a chaotic system, a very small change applied at a particular point in time makes the future change in dramatic ways. Something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings might affect the weather system on a global scale six months into the future.
The Butterfly Effect may sound like hyperbole, but words and actions act like stones thrown into a still pond. The expanding ripples spread in unexpected ways to influence other people’s lives. We cannot always anticipate the results.
Cause and effect. The dominos fall. No inconsequential words and deeds. All that we say and do affects our lives along with others.
These are important principles for followers of Jesus Christ to understand. God does not call most of us to become missionaries or martyrs. Few will have the opportunity to serve God in blazing moments of glory. For the most part, Christian discipleship is acted out in the ordinary and everyday moments of life. However, these small acts of discipleship can have unimaginable consequences.
Fred Craddock was one of my mentors in seminary who taught preaching at Candler School of Theology. He once said: “We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a thousand dollar bill and laying it on the altar: ‘Here’s my life, Lord, I’m giving it all.’ But the reality for most of us is God sends us to the bank and has us cash in that thousand dollars for quarters. We go through life putting 25 cents here and 50 cents there. To be kind to the neighborhood kid rather than say, ‘Get lost.’ To go to a committee meeting or serve your church when needed. To give a cup a water to a shaky old man at a nursing home.”
Usually giving our life to Christ is not glorious. It’s done in all of these little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be much easier to put it all on the line at one time, we would know the outcome, that we have accomplished what we have been asked to do, but that’s not what God wants.”
Holiness is practiced in the humdrum of routine; but these “ordinary” moments can have an extraordinary effect. Our words and actions are powerful. What we say and do each day ripples through time and eternity. Cause and effect. Action and reaction. Truth and consequences.
All because a little bug went KA-CHOO. God bless you!