The world is an overwhelming place and it is changing faster every day. Pollution, wars, disease and famine ravage entire countries while individuals across the world are beset by violence, poverty, and a world that is generally indifferent to all of this. The world itself is even threatened through global warming and nuclear war.
Through all of this there is a natural human desire to help. A desire that can be held down by any number of reason but one of the most common is that the problems just seem to large. 30,000 children a day are dying from starvation, and more die in genocides and wars. There is simply nothing that can be done.
There is a story of a prudent businessman who worked near the beach. He would walk along the boardwalk each day and think about the world. He was an average man who understood the futility of trying to change the world.
One day as he walked out he noticed that the entire beach was filled with starfish. He didn’t understand why, but he knew they were going to die and as he walked along the boardwalk he watched them. He tried to imagine what anyone could do. He saw bulldozers pushing them back into the water but knew it was impractical.
Then as he walked he saw a young boy the boy was frantically running along the beach picking up starfish and hurling them back into the ocean. The businessman stopped and watched him for a moment and then walked down to talk to the young boy.
“There are too many, you’ll never make. A difference,” the businessman said as he approached the young boy.
The young boy grabbed another of the starfish from the beach looked at the man then threw the starfish as hard as he could into the water. “It made a difference for that one,” He said.
The story does not say what the businessman did with the lesson he learned. Some hear the lesson but it falls upon deaf ears, other hear but find other excuses. A few though understand the lesson and take it to heart and one of those men not only change the lives of those who they help, but those who understand why they are helping.
The world is an overwhelming place. The problems of this world cannot be solved by the richest or most powerful of men, and they certainly cannot be solved by us. Instead, we must learn a truth greater than that of the size of the world. We must learn that each time we choose to make a difference in a single life we save the world for that person.