Starfish…that’s the password for the wifi at Port City Java where I’m typing this. Every Thursday afternoon I leave the office and go work on my sermon with a cup of coffee. And every week I ask for the password. Last week it was dreamtime. The week before that I think it was sunscreen. But today it’s starfish.
There’s a quaint, little story you’ve probably heard a bunch of times about a boy and some starfish. A boy was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When he came to each starfish, he would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched him with amusement.
He had been doing this for some time when a man approached him and said, “Little boy, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference! “The boy looks up with a defiant grin. He bends down, picks up another starfish, and hurled it as far as he can into the ocean. Then he looks up at the man and replies, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
Starfish. You’ve probably heard that story before. It might have been the first thing you thought about when you started reading this. And sometimes when something gets repeated often enough it stops having the power it once had. We listen and we smile and then we do our own thing. We go play in the waves and leave the starfish lying on the beach.
You’ve probably heard it a million times—with God’s help we can change the world! In a world that promises health, wealth, and happiness if we’ll just buy what the newest commercial is selling, it’s easy to develop callouses on our ears. And the words that the Church speaks are just as likely to bounce off of us as any other words sometimes when we hear something often enough.
But then sometimes those words become more than words. They don’t just bounce right off of us, they make it past our ears and into our hearts. They show up in the work of our hands and the movement of our feet. And we walk over and pick up a starfish.
As of today, we have forty-four people who signed up to mentor kids at Alderman Elementary School this year. Forty-four! Can you imagine what’s going to happen when so many loving, capable people go walking into Alderman in a few days and get their hands on those starfish?!?
Every teacher at Alderman Elementary who wants a prayer partner now has one! Can you imagine how good it’s going to feel when those teachers get a note or a call or a visit from someone whose sole purpose is to lift them up in their work?!?
One hundred and forty families in our church have donated school supplies! That might have felt like a small thing when you were at Wal-Mart or Target last week buying paper and pencils and a backpack. But for the students who don’t have enough and for the teachers who are called to serve them, it meant the world. Listen, God isn’t calling us to solve every problem in the world tomorrow. All he is calling us to do is serve where we are, and love who we can. I can promise you this, everyone we love in Jesus’ name…to them it will make a difference.
BY: MATT COOK