Most people don’t really understand the math of exponential growth.
Right now there’s a lot of talk about a virus spreading “exponentially.” I don’t want to talk about illness, but lots of other things spread exponentially.
Generosity, for example. Let’s imagine ten people committed to a cause like a bike ride to support kids rescued from human trafficking.
Then suppose each of them recruited one person to join the next ride. So now there’s 20 people. A bigger circle, more relationships, more fun, more opportunities.
Now, continue the process. Ride 3 – 40 people. Nice group. Then 80. And 160. Now, 160 is a lot more than 10. Crazy, but maybe manageable. So suppose everyone remains faithful, and keeps bringing just one more person into the circle each time.
When would it change from “wow, this is fun” to “this is totally out of control”?
On Ride 8 we’d have more than 1200 people. Just 2 rides later, our happy little circle of generosity would include more than 5,000 people! And 8 rides after that we’d be dealing with 1 million generous people.
A million people, all from a tiny group of 10, each infecting a single person each time with the generosity virus. That’s the power of exponential growth.
Unlike politicians, numbers don’t lie. Generosity, viruses, and internet cat videos spread exponentially, whether we like it or not.
We can panic and adopt a scarcity mentality. We liked the family atmosphere of our ride. With these big numbers, we fear being lost in the crowd. There’s not gonna be enough for “us,” so we hoard. Turn inward. Stop being generous.
Suddenly, there’s “us” and “them.” We draw defensive circles to protect “us” from “them.” We propose and support self-centered policies designed to benefit “us” with no regard for the negative consequences on “them.”
Or…we can believe in abundance and God’s provision. Of course the big numbers will change things, but we don’t need to fear what’s new or different. It’s possible to embrace the notion that He might see something beyond our limited perspective.
Jesus isn’t afraid of big stuff. Big storms, big numbers…He holds them in His hands.