Most, if not all, people have an innate (God-given) desire to make their life count…to have something to live for…to make a significant contribution that is bigger than themselves. This desire is woven into our very fabric. God created us this way so we could have joy in giving to something (or someone) beyond ourselves. Real joy in Jesus is not in getting, but in giving.
At times, life beats us up and we loose hope and begin to wonder if we are, or ever will, really make a difference. It’s easy…too easy…to compare with others and measure our sense of worth by what others are accomplishing.
Years ago, as a missionary in Sweden, I was very discouraged and ready to book a flight home and call it quits. The Lord met me in a very special way and encouraged me to continue and trust him to work. He used 2 Chronicles 15:7:
“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” ESV
In a previous post, I mentioned the statement by Samuel Johnson that “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”
By way of reminder, assuming that many, if not most, of you have heard the “Starfish Story” before. Here it is again. (I’m sure there are various versions of this story out there but this is the one I heard a number of years ago.) You may be seeing this for the first time, or have heard it before; but, either way, I trust it will encourage your heart!
A man was walking along a stretch of beach and he noticed someone a few hundred yards a way throwing something into the ocean. As he got closer he saw a young girl throwing starfish into the ocean that had been stranded on the beach. He walked up to her and asked her what she was doing. The girl responded that when the tide went out starfish got stranded on the beach and would die, so she was throwing them back into the water.
The man looked on incredulously and politely informed the girl that there were too many starfish and this was only one stretch of beach with many more starfish on thousands of other beaches all around the world. Then came the clincher question,
“Surely you don’t think you are really making a difference do you?
The young girl, seemingly not taking to heart or paying attention to what the man said, simply picked up one more starfish and said, as she threw it into the ocean,
“Made a difference to that one!”
Jesus took the boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish and fed the multitudes. God loves to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things. Little is much when God is in it.
Don’t fall for the devil’s lies that what you are doing is of no value and will make no difference.
ONE cup of cold water given in His name…ONE class you teach with the children…ONE warm hand you extend to a visitor at your church…ONE Bible with a twenty dollar bill in it given to a homeless person whom you felt led to approach…ONE sermon you preached…ONE young person you mentored…ONE article you sent in for publication…ONE phone call you made to a lonely person…ONE smile you offered to someone who seldom gets any!
Well, it made a difference to that ONE!
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)