With one swing of the golf club, a man named Mathieu Boya accidentally destroyed his country’s entire air force! One day, in 1987, Boya was practicing his golf swing in a pasture adjacent to the Benin Air Base in Africa. One shot set off an incredible series of events. “The glorious slice” as it was called, hit a bird, which in turn dropped onto the windshield of a trainer jet whose pilot was taxiing into position for takeoff. The bird caused the pilot to lose control of his plane, which then plowed into four shiny Albatross jets, totally demolishing the entire air force of Benin.
Boya was arrested immediately for “hooliganism.” His lawyer urged him to plead guilty because he did not believe Boya had any chance of winning a trial. Meanwhile, the government of Benin was running a deficit in their national budget and had no money to replace the jets. They wanted Boya to pay $40 million to the national treasury for the damage he had caused. Since Boya made about $275 a year, he figured it would take 145,000 years to pay off his debt to society.
Friends, though many golfers have hit a “wayward shot,” it is unlikely that any of these have resulted in the type of damage which this man’s did. This story is an important reminder that one small event can set off a huge chain reaction. Like falling dominoes, one action can lead to much larger results than we could ever imagine. Angry words spoken to a child or spouse can leave scars that may not heal even after many years. Telling one “little” lie often leads to a whole series of deceptions and causes someone to take extreme measures to ensure the truth is not revealed. We need to think before we act because our selfish or sinful actions may cause far greater harm to ourselves or the people around us than we could ever imagine.
At the same time, a good action can set off a chain reaction which will have positive results greater than we might ever think. A kind word spoken to a discouraged person, a small financial gift to someone in need, or a generous donation of time to a good cause are all things the Lord can use to impact both our own lives and the people around us in marvelous ways.
Friends, don’t forget: little actions can have big results.
Yours, desiring to act in a way that honors God,
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church