“9 Ridiculous Ideas That Made People Ridiculously Rich”—I came across this website post recently. The article, by Business Insider Australia, highlighted 10 “ridiculous” ideas that surprisingly took off and made bucket loads of money for the people who thought them up.
Among them was the Pet Rock—a craze that brought back a few memories! I never owned one but I recall being rather envious of one of my primary school friends who did. “Rocky” went everywhere with her—it sat on her desk at school, was carried around in a little basket and was carefully placed on her bedside table each night. Pet rocks were ideal from a parent’s perspective too: they didn’t need to be fed, groomed or walked, they weren’t disobedient and they never died. Who would have thought that such a ridiculously simple idea would ever take off? But it did—and in a big way, earning its inventor Gary Dahl, a former advertising executive, an estimated $15m in just the first six months.
I scrolled down the list and another “ridiculous idea” caught my eye—the slinky. Now that’s something I did own as a child. It used to be fun setting it up at the top of a flight of stairs and watching it “walk” down. According to the article, the slinky was inspired out of clumsiness after naval engineer Richard James dropped a tension spring and observed it “slink” away across the floor. But James was apparently so nervous about launching the toy that he convinced a friend to come along with him for moral support. He shouldn’t have worried though: the first 400 sold out within 90 minutes. His estimated profit was $250 million.
The article got me thinking about how simple ideas can also have a huge impact spiritually. I came across such an idea not long ago—surprisingly while in the bathroom of my workplace at Adventist Media. Behind the toilet door someone had placed a sticky note with a Bible verse on it. It’s a simple idea that has multiplied—at last count there were 10 sticky notes with Bible verses on the door. An inspirational message every time you go to the bathroom!
Another simple idea is sharing a Bible verse on your Facebook page. A good friend of mine shares her morning devotional each day—what a wonderful way to bring God into the minds of your friends; hopefully they will share the message with their friends and so on . . . the potential is enormous.
Our youth pastor came up with a simple plan to reach out to people visiting the hospital next to our church. He got members of the teen group to place a flower and a Bible message on the windscreen of each car in the hospital car park. A beautiful sight—and what an impact!
Sometimes we think we have to spend many hours coming up with elaborate programs to share God with the world. Large-scale outreach programs will always have their place, but let’s not forget that simple, impromptu ideas can also be very effective. While you won’t make millions of dollars out of them, you are bound to enrich many lives.
What’s something simple you can do today to make an impact for God?