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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Starfish and water bottles

There once was a man who walked along a beach at low tide. As he walked, he couldn't help but notice the numerous starfish stranded on the shore in the tangle of seaweed and debris.

When he had walked a little further, he noticed a small boy in the distance. Over and over, the little boy squatted down, picked something up in his hand, and flung it as hard as he could into the ocean.

Intrigued, the man walked closer. As he neared, he realized that the boy was picking up the stranded starfish and throwing them as far as he could back out to sea.

"Hey, buddy," the man called, "what are you doing?'

"I'm saving the starfishes," the little boy puffed between throws.

"I hate to disappoint you, kid, but there are too many! You're just a kid! You can't make a difference."

The little boy flung another starfish. As it splashed into the water, he turned to the man beside him.

"I just made a difference for THAT starfish," he said.


In the face of the devastation in the Gulf Coast, it's easy to feel like the man surrounded by dying starfish--"I'm too small to make a difference."

But over and over, the Bible talks about the way God uses small beginnings.

a staff in Moses' hand
five small stones in David's pocket
a handful of meal and a few drops of oil in a widow's pantry
five loaves and two fish in a little boy's lunchbox
a cup of cold water

So maybe all I can give is enough for one bottle of water or one PB&J sandwich--that's one person who isn't as thirsty or as hungry as they were before. As God said to the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 4:10) "Who has despised the day of small things?'

I may not be able to do much, but what I can do--I should do!

Now, if you'll excuse me--I gotta go throw some starfish!

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