You can make a difference

Published 10:11 am Friday, March 13, 2009

There is a story told about a man who, as he walked the seashore, noticed that far ahead of him was another man who would make a few steps, then stop, stoop over and toss something into the sea.

As he got closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish and flinging them back into the ocean.

After a closer look, he noticed that there were multiplied thousands of starfish on the beach.

Email newsletter signup

He became irritated: There were so many starfish on the seashore that it seemed ridiculously impossible that one man would be able to throw all the starfish back into the ocean; it seemed like a pointless unproductive waste of time.

He finally told the starfish-flinging old man, “You can’t save all those starfish—it’s useless! There are so many, what difference can you make?”

It was then that the old man stopped quietly for a moment as he looked at the single starfish in his hand.

Then he spoke great volumes to the one who was criticizing what he was doing: “It matters a great deal to this one!” as he gently tossed the starfish back into the sea.

As we live in a world with countless needs, we can easily begin to wonder if our efforts to reach out to the needy with the message of Christ and His love are really making any difference.

The answer is found in the old man’s wisdom as he tossed the starfish into the ocean: It does make a difference to those individuals that we are able to minister to in whatever ways the Lord opens up for us.

If we will pay attention, He will give us the opportunity to reach out to others with the love of Christ—one at a time

In the book Simple Church, Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger state that “Jesus [Christ] has the ability to take the complex and make it simple.”

On the contrary, in the modern church world, we have too often adopted the mentality of taking the complex and making it even more complex as we allow the details of what we are doing bog us down and keep us from doing what we are really called to do.

Perhaps we need to rediscover our purpose by paying fresh attention to the directive that the Lord gave to His followers before He ascended back into Heaven and to us in His Church today through His Word: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).

Did Christ leave us with a big job to do?

No doubt about it!

Can it be done?

No doubt about that either, if we will all do our part, as small is it may seem, and rely upon God’s help and empowerment.

While what we do personally might not seem like it is making a huge difference, to those that God allows us to influence it can make all the difference regarding where they spend eternity.