Making a Difference

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
“It made a difference for that one.”
― Loren Eiseley

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15 thoughts on “Making a Difference

  1. What a virtuous proverb is this story! Saving souls one at a time. That’s WWJD. What would Jesus do….or have us to do. That wise man in the story just gained another gem of wisdom. And so do we glean from this story…”go ye and do llikewise”.

  2. It seems to me that the ‘wise man’ in the story was so focused on the enormity of the natural world that he missed the value of each individual component of it. The young man seemed humble enough to stoop and consider/care for each one. Reminds me of the Heavenly Father’s concern for each of His creatures… “But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”
    Makes me also think that solutions to needs can seem so big or overwhelming that instead of trying to help by tackling a very small part of it, it is easier to just worry about it and do nothing.

  3. That’s so true, Debi. The thought of “Go ye into the WHOLE WORLD…[All the beaches of the world]…. and preach the Gospel is overwhelming. I think that sometimes we underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit in helping each of us when and IF we are endeavoring to ‘preach’ the Good News especially to those closest to us. I love the Scripture in 2 Cor.,2:15 where Paul says [paraphrased] that we, the believers, are [supposed to be] a sweet, fragrance of Christ not only unto God but we should be ‘fragrant’ to those whom we are trying to bring into the Kingdom of Heaven.
    In the story above, the wise man KNEW that the lad could never accomplish the feat of saving ALL the starfish on the beach….and in extension….none of us could on all the beaches of the world. But if we are a sweet fragrance of Christ as Song of Solomon 1:3 says…”.His Name is as ointment, [fragrance] poured forth.” The next verse starts with the words,…”Draw me”.
    If we are fragrant with Christ’s fragrance & not self, with the help of Holy Spirit’s draw, we may be able to bring a fish or two to Jesus.

  4. Special Birthday Blessings to the bogmaster, Sara. Grace to you in the precious Name of the Lamb of God, Jesus, our Bridegroom.

      1. Should make us feel “lighter” already….we have the One who sprinkled the stars in the sky, spoke and their was light, the wind ceased to His command, etc. Thank you, Heavenly Father that you can take a “tiny” action and make it big when You are in the midst of it.

  5. This quote from Edward Everett Hale was in a devotional I read this am. It seems to reinforce the idea from this blog that we can make a difference if we are willing to.
    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

    1. Debi, how interesting! All to often I catch myself with an attitude of reverse or neutral when it should be in drive. I’m just not doing any more since no one else will help. They don’t appreciate it anyway. Then I get in drive and should be in reverse like forget them and Help anyway. But, I see the key phrase is, doing the something that makes a difference. The Holy Spirit gives the map of the place we can make a difference. He dosent want us broken down on an old dirt road, no gas, no fix and no way to go! Hey get our mind out of the mud of pride and follow the humility of The Holy Spirit and we will make a difference. Yes, and others will make a difference in our lives.

      Hey, wonder if your devotional said all this, Debi?

    1. I see….so the ‘something’ that I can do must be motivated by love and the Holy Spirit to have meaning for the Kingdom of Heaven. And it’s to be in the will of God even if it’s something nice, good, fair, needed….still…that something I can do is what God enables me to do….provides the opportunity to do…the resources to do….and grace to do. All I have to do is to RECOGNIZE it and DO it. Amen?

      1. Oh and not to ignore other needs around me but not to do those in lieu of the ones assigned to me by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “….. but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. ” To do the former and not disregard the latter, then. Matthew 23:23

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