This morning my daughter came home buzzing about the story of the young man who chucked a star in the ocean. Chances are you have heard the story before by some teacher, motivator or friend trying to lift you from the clutches of apathy? There are a few versions around but they all stem from the work of Loren Eiseley who wrote "The Star Thrower" in 1978. When short-story Science Fiction writer Ray Bradbury read it he commented;
The 16 page essay that brought us this inspiring story has been adapted and developed to suit various themes but the core emphasis is the same. We can make a difference. Let me give you the Pitchford Paraphrase and see how it resonates with the part of you that wants to give and make that difference. The story goes like this;
Suddenly it dawns on the morning walker that the boy is throwing the starfish one by one back into the breaking waves. "Excuse me young man" said the walker; "what are you doing?" "I'm saving the starfish and if I don't hurry the tide will go out and they will die" he replied. "But don't you realise there are thousands of starfish and hundreds of metres of beach. You can't make a difference."
The boy bent down, picked up another starfish. He spun around with the wound up recoil of an Olympic discus thrower and flung the starfish back into the ocean. "It made a difference to that one!" he said. He then returned to his spring and fling routine that was making a difference one starfish at a time. The man with no answer turned on his heel and walked back to his home pondering the truth that he had heard and seen. To that man the boy had just made a difference.
Recently I heard Mark Driscoll recommend a message he heard last November by Andy Stanley on making a difference. He explained the subtle line between making a point and a difference. As you walk along the starfish ridden beach of your life today take the time to consider what it would take to make a difference. Below you can watch the video of Andy Stanley's message. How could you make a difference to "this one".