Becoming a ‘Starfish Thrower’



“I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. So I keep loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a follower of Jesus.” – Katie Davis

“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea.

When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him I thought he was foolish. There are thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, ‘It makes a difference for this one.’ I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.” – from “The Starfish Thrower” by Loren Eisley

I have always loved this story and have shared it literally with hundreds during my time in ministry. For me, it captures the heart of a disciple. A disciple understands that we live in a broken world filled with broken people. The need for healing/saving is immense; so every day, we wake up and recommit ourselves to the work left to us. Once in a while, we may need to be reminded that we can make a difference; we are not powerless, for we are empowered by our God.

The message of “The Starfish Thrower” is powerful for the time we find ourselves in and for the brokenness of our country. Maybe many of you are asking yourselves, “what can I possibly do? The problems are too overwhelming and I am one person.” Do we underestimate the power of one because we always hear that strength is found in numbers?

Call to mind your favorite saint and their story, and how their example has influenced you or maybe even changed you for the better. That one person, because they recommitted each day to live the life of a disciple, has changed the lives of many.

If we are all called to holiness – to be a saint – isn’t there a possibility or even the promise that our life, lived faithfully, can resonate with another and bring them to a more abundant way of life? There just may be the chance that they too become a Starfish Thrower.