Monday, February 21, 2011

It Matters To That One

Apparently this story has been around for years, but I recently read it in a chapter of -The Whole in Our Gospel by Richard Sterns. It really touched me, particularly in thinking about the constant battle of explaining to people, including Christians, why it is important that we go, why we take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In a culture of numbers and looking at things based on a scale, especially in considering our effictiveness, this story encouraged me in why we should continue to fly across the globe even if we touch just one hand, one heart, one soul. Here is the story:

One early morning, after a fierce storm had hit the coast, I strolled to the beach for my morning walk. Horrified, I saw that tens of thousands of starfish had been washed up on the beach by the winds and waves. I was saddened by the realization that all of them would die, stranded on the shore, away from the life-giving water. Despairing that there was nothing I could do, I sat down on the sand and put my head in my hands.
But then I heard a sound, I lifted my eyes. There, in the distance, I saw a man bending down and then standing up, bending down and standing up. Curious, I rose and walked toward him. I saw that he was picking up the starfish, one at a time, and throwing them back into the sea.

"What are you doing?' I yelled.
"Saving the starfish," he replied.
"But don't you see, man that there are tens of thousands of them?"
I asked, incredulous. "Nothing you can do will make a difference."

He did not answer me but bent down, picked up another starfish, and cast it back into the water. Then he smiled, looked me in the eye, and said, "It made a difference to that one!"
Adapted from Loren Eiseley, The Star Thrower (New York: Harvest, 1979)

Why do we go? Because it matters to that one. And because they matter to God, they matter to me.

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