Life Lessons by the Seashore

Last week as I was taking my morning walk, I suddenly began to notice a starfish here or there that had washed ashore.  A few steps more and there were five, then six, then 10 to 15 starfish.  Everywhere I looked there were starfish – large ones, tiny ones, green, white, red and purple ones.  They were beautiful and amazing!


I ran back home to get the girls to come out to the beach and see the starfish for themselves.  They quickly grabbed a bucket and filled it with ocean water to gather the starfish and put them back into the water. (after naming a few of them!)

When I first encountered the mass of starfish on the shore that morning I was immediatly reminded of a story that I had been told years ago, here it is –

 “An old man walked along a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. “Why do you bother?” the old man scoffed. “Surely you cannot expect to save enough to make a difference.” The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. “I just made a difference to that one”.

A short but potentially life changing and inspiring story. More often than not we have that same scoffing voice in our own head – telling us that what we do will not make a difference.  Those voices often sound like this –

Why would you bother…..

  • volunteering your time to teach Sunday School or coach other people’s children?
  • occasionally stopping and giving your change to the homeless when they might use it to buy drugs?
  • donating your “mere” $15 to a charity, church or a missionary when others could give so much more?
  • picking up stray garbage as you walk down the street when you can never make a dent in it?
  • to work so hard for so little money at your full time ministry vocation with little visible results?
  • powering through all the hassles of adoption when you already have children?
  • sponsoring a child in a third world country when hundreds if not thousands of others will die of starvation?
  • spending countless hours giving pre-marital counseling knowing that according to statistics one out of every two couples may divorce?
  • sharing words of wisdom, inspiration or motivation to many when only a few will actually do something different with their life because of it?

Why bother?  Because if it will make a difference in at least one life – then to me – it is worth it!


Who will be the one you make a difference for today?


Filed under Attitude, Making a Difference

10 responses to “Life Lessons by the Seashore

  1. Beth,

    Thank you for this so beautifully illustrated word of encouragement today…and everyday.

    And thanks for your “fat face” updates. You have inspired my daughter and I to re-focus on our weight loss plan. (We LOVE the prevention website, too!)

    God bless you,

  2. Jaye Jackson

    Thank you! That is just what I needed to hear this morning! It is easy to ‘give up’ when I think it isn’t going to make a difference or that I am not worthy or capable. Thank you for reminding me that with God’s help anything is possible for me!

  3. kelly

    Thanks for the reminder that our efforts are NEVER in vain, when we put our best foot forward, and DO something!!!I think there is so much to be said when we at least try, even for one!!! Love the starfish pics. sooo beautiful!

  4. So funny you posted this today. One year ago my husband and I went to Swaziland and Mozambique on a mission trip. We worked with an organization called Children’s Cup. Within a couple of days of arriving I was overwhelmed with all I was seeing. I told God, “there are so many problems here God, what difference can I possibly make?” As soon as I prayed that prayer God reminded me of the starfish story that you have in your blog. What’s cool about you putting it in your blog today is that we’re leaving on Thursday for another trip to Africa. This time we’ll be in South Africa working with Blessman Medical Ministries on a vision care trip. I’m sure God has loads of new lessons in store for me.

  5. kate

    okay, who took those pics? They’re awesome!!!!

  6. I’m so blessed I clicked on this link! Thank you for the uplifting message and for what you do to make a difference for “just one person”….it was certainly me on this day!

  7. bethlambdin

    Kristen took them – I think she has a photographers “eye”!

  8. Gloria Borden

    I loved the pictures! How blessed you were to see them and in such abundance. Love, Mom

  9. Melody Bennett

    Great photos! That is truly amazing! I have never seen anything like that. God is so creative! I’m so thrilled that you get to spend so long at the beach!

  10. Samantha

    A lot of people might have kept them for “souvenirs”. You and your daughters realized these were lives and every life is worth saving. Everything, even an ant deserves the chance to live it’s whole life through to the end.

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