Monday, August 17, 2009

What Difference Can We Make?

Everywhere we look there are needs – children in poverty, individuals out of work, homeless people approaching as we walk down the street. We can get discouraged, or shrug our shoulders and think, “What difference can I make?”

Recently I was reminded of the story of an artist on a beach vacation. One morning walking along the shore, he spotted someone that appeared to be dancing in the sand, celebrating the new day. Getting closer, the artist noticed the young man reaching down, clutching something and then running toward the waves and throwing the object into the water. The person repeated the action again and again.

Finally, the artist drew close enough to see the man was picking up starfish that had washed up ashore, then sprinting to the water and restoring the little animals to their watery environment.

“What are you doing?” the artist inquired. “I’m returning the starfish to the sea. Lying here in the sun, they’ll die,” was the response.

The artist laughed, gazing down the beach. “There are thousands of starfish baking in the sun. What difference can you possibly make?”

Without a word, the man scooped up another starfish, sprinted toward the water and threw it in, well beyond the breaking waves. Striding back to the artist he said, “I made a difference for that one.”

I’m convinced the world would be a much better place if we all took a similar approach as we observed the pressing needs around us. Individually, we can’t possibly make a difference for everyone or for every situation. But within the scope of our gifts, abilities and experience, we can make a difference in the lives of at least a few – simply by being willing to expend a little time and energy.

Who knows what difference your investment will bring?

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