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 from 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 book will be read and cherished in the year 2001. It will go to the Moon and Mars with future generations. Loren Eiseley’s work changed my life.
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;
One bright morning a wise man walked through the sand dunes from his home to the beach for a refreshing wander in the ripples of a receding tide. In the distance, he spots the glowing silhouette of a dancer coming toward him basking in the sunrise rays. As he approaches he realises it is a young boy crouching and springing up, crouching and spinning. The closer the man comes to the young boy he notices the beach is glittering with a plethora of glittering starfish.
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 and 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.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2 v 10