If you've never heard of the basic premise of the butterfly effect, according to Wikipedia (because I can't explain it in any more concise terms) it is described such:
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions; where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. For example, the presence or absence of a butterfly flapping its wings could lead to creation or absence of a hurricane.
Although the butterfly effect may appear to be an esoteric and unusual behavior, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position.
The term "butterfly effect" itself is related to the meteorological work of Edward Lorenz, who popularized the term.
The butterfly effect is a common trope in fiction when presenting scenarios involving time travel and with "what if" cases where one storyline diverges at the moment of a seemingly minor event resulting in two significantly different outcomes.
At the WoF conference Andrews shared the story of a slave-born baby rescued by a couple in the middle of a frigid night. The man rode the family's only horse for miles to negotiate a trade with night raiders the horse for the child. He then went on to tell how that child grew to manhood and impacted the world through his work in agriculture and alternative crops. That man was George Washington Carver and if not for Moses Carver rescuing him it's possible that none of us would have peanut butter in our pantries.
Andrews' book further cites others further back as well as forward in the chain of people connected to Carver's life with the point of illustrating how one simple act on our part can have profound effects on the world around us. He provides one of the best "what if's" I've ever considered and it's compelled me to be much more aware of how I interact with my world.
One day I very randomly (and by very random, I mean this is the only time in as long as I can remember) I bought a scratch ticket at the store. That scratch ticket won me a second one and the second one had a $2 prize on it. I had to get somewhere so I just slipped it in my pocket and headed out. As I got in the car and backed out of my parking space there was a homeless man headed into the store. I felt compelled to hand him the ticket since I had no other cash to give him. As I headed down the road I started to second guess my choice as the thought started to build that I had only given him a pathetic $2. But then the Holy Spirit interrupted that thought and said "What if that man bought another scratch ticket? What if that scratch ticket had a large prize on it? What if that cash prize is all that man needs to get some new clothes and rent a room to get a job? What if he gets a job and gets back on his feet? What if, after he gets back on his feet, he gets reunited with his family? And all because of a pathetic $2 scratch ticket that some young woman gave him in a parking lot." What if...?
What if your smile is the one someone's asked God for as a sign that He's really there? What if that sign is what makes them decide not to attempt suicide? What if letting someone into traffic makes the difference between them making the next light, making it to work on time, and saving their job, their house payment, their marriage? What if being gracious to a stranger motivates them to choose the same later on? What if...?
As all of us have changed like a caterpillar into a butterfly through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As such, as new creations, we need to remember that God's plans and purposes for us all pertain to people. Saving trees, saving whales... all well and good, noble causes but if "we have not love" then how will it benefit the Kingdom of Eternity? We are charged with leaving a legacy by affecting everyone we come in contact with. God "formed you in the secret place" because He "knows the plans He has for you" to "go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit".
Now, as you ponder that and go about life, keep an eye out for those "what ifs". Make the conscious choice to make a difference. Smile. Be considerate. Be kind. Be Christ. Flap your little wings and change the world... Butterfly: Affect.