Sometime next year, we'll each be able to say that we're one among 7 billion people on this planet. That's a lot of people. This mass of humanity will mean even more competition for already scarce resources. How do we get clean water and food to even more individuals when we are already failing those here? How do we spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in meaningful and faithful ways to communities with such dire needs? How are we unique individuals and committed communities among such large groups? How do we serve our brothers and sisters in Christ when we are one among so many?
I don't have the answers to all these questions, but, as the pastor of a small church, I believe strongly in the power of individual relationships. We have the power to connect with individuals on a one-to-one basis. While we may never change the entire world at once, we can, with diligence and dedication, change the lives of people one at a time. I will never meet all 7 billion people in the world. They will not all know who I am. But each I can greet child of God I do meet with love and grace. I can live each day of my life with integrity, living according to the Gospel, serving God by serving others. I can love boldly, serve graciously, and proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ in every moment of my life.
The Starfish Story
by Loren Eiseley
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."