What Difference Does It Make?


“ What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? Luke 15:4

This week has been a challenge.  Multiple doc appointments in a single day.  Heading into Chicago (over an hour away most days) multiple times.  Spending more time in a car than I'd like to.  Fighting with insurance companies, making sense of scheduling multiple tests. Hurting, feeling sick, feeling tired, feeling sick AND tired, and watching the clutter in my house grow and grow and grow. 

I look around my house.

What difference does it make?  No one comes to visit except for the obligatory family drop in every so often.  It seems we live in isolation anymore.  Who cares?

I look in the mirror.

What difference does it make when I wear the same clothes two (maybe three!) days in a row simply because it takes too much effort to get out to the laundry room (which is my closet - seriously!) to get new clothes??  Who cares?

What difference does it make that I sit here with unkempt hair and no make up?  I mean, seriously - no one but family sees me - so, who cares what I look like?

What difference does it make if I simply resign myself to where I am.  Not accept and make the best of it, mind you - but resign myself to it. 

"What difference does it make?" echoes in my ears.

I remind myself of the star-fish story. Perhaps you have read it before.  

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

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.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

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 elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realise that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

What if God is that young man on the beach, diligently tossing star-fish back into the life-giving water?

What if it is we, ourselves, who are those helpless, destitute starfish?

Can't you just see Him picking each of us off this beach of humanity - suffering and pain - and saying to us.

"I am making a difference for you."

Father God - Help us to find that balance between doing and being.  Between resignation and acceptance.  Between pushing ourselves and giving up.  Help us to remember that every day you are making a difference for us.  Amen and amen.


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