Category | Inspiration

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Washed up on the beach, stranded, with no means of getting back to the sea, except by tide or accident.

A wise man walked along a beach, and saw a gracefully dancing human figure. As he approached the figure, he discovered a child, who was not dancing at all, but bending and reaching down to sift through the debris and gently toss something back into the sea.

“What are you doing?” asked the wise man. The child smiled brightly, pointed upward and, with exquisite simplicity, replied, “The sun is up, the tide is going out. If I don’t do something, they will die.”

The wise man surveyed the vast expanse of beach. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The hopelessness of the child’s plan became clear. “But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot hope to make a difference.”

The child listened politely, then bent down, picked up another starfish, and tossed it gently into the sea, just beyond the breaking waves, and exuberantly declared, “I made a difference to that one.”

We have all been gifted with the ability to make a positive difference. If we accept and acknowledge that gift, we gain the power to shape the future. Like the starfish, you have been given an opportunity to surf upon the shores of life, touched by a child’s simple wisdom: “The sun is up, the tide is going out. If we don’t do something, they will die.”

One starfish at a time, one day at a time, we make a difference, a life is turned around and that starfish becomes a star.

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
– Matthew 25:40

Copyright 2005 by Ken Sapp
Based upon a story by Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen popular for their “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” series of books.


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