I have recently become acquainted with a fine example of this very thing. In 2002, Grand Rapids pharmacist Mike Koelzer realized that dispensing artificial contraceptives was contrary to his Catholic faith, and started informing his customers that he would no longer be filling prescriptions for contraceptives. Though he received many angry responses, Koelzer stuck to principle, saying, "...I was and am willing to lose the business in order to not be a part of something I don't agree with."
That was six years ago. Whether inspired by Koelzer or impelled by their own individual convictions, more pro-life pharmacists have since followed Koelzer's example, and have stopped selling prescription or OTC contraceptives. So much so that the folks at Planned Parenthood are now 'very, very concerned' over this nationwide trend, and legislatures in at least three states have passed unjust laws intended to force such pharmacists to violate their consciences in this matter. The battle is engaged; a possible tsunami in the making.
ABC featured the above in a recent story, which you may view here (video) or here (printable text version). Koelzer is now a national speaker on these issues, and in 2007 founded ProLifePharmacy.com, where you may read more, and find links to other related sites.
In hindsight, I wonder: What was it like when nobody much was watching, when it was just Koelzer's tiny, insignificant, personal decision? I wonder whether Mr. Koelzer was tempted to cave in to his customers' ire, and return to business as usual. He might have reasoned that he was only injuring his business and his family by being so 'stubborn', and that little or no good was likely to come of it.
Or, what if Koelzer had been faithful, but nothing much did come of it? What if he had lost his business, seriously disrupted his family life, and no one ever acknowledged his principled stand? Would his principled 'nudge' still count? Would it count with God?
In this case, of course, the nudge has grown into a meaningful force. Nudges can grow into tsunamis. But maybe some nudges remain tiny, to all except God.