In our recent efforts to “BE” the church instead of merely going to a building we call a church (i.e. Missional Living) I was reminded of an illustration I heard many years ago and that I have used many times as well.
A man walked out to the beach one morning for his daily exercise and was concerned to see that the tide had washed up numerous Star fish which were scattered all over the sand. The poor Star fish would quickly die unless they could somehow make it back into the water. As the man looked down the beach he noticed a small figure doing something so he started walking in that direction. As he got closer he was able to see that it was a young boy who was picking up the Star fish and throwing them back into the sea. The man admired the boy’s compassion but felt the need to save him all the trouble since there were so many Star fish on the beach. As the boy picked up another Star fish the man said, “Son, I know you are trying to help these poor Star fish but there are so many of them on the beach that you can’t possibly make a difference for all of them.” The young boy looked at the Star fish in his hand, looked up at the stranger and said, “I may not be able to make a difference for all the Star fish but I can sure make a difference for this one.” He then threw the fish into the sea.
This past Sunday we distributed approximately 40 complete Thanksgiving Meals throughout the neighborhoods surrounding the physical building where our Church family meets each week. Each of these meals will feed approximately 6 to 8 depending on the appetites of those eating. The weather was horrible this past Sunday afternoon. It was about 47 degrees and raining. Everything was soaking wet! I was taking a great nap when I suddenly woke up realizing it was time to go. To be honest, I looked outside and thought: “We should have postponed this project.” (I really just didn’t want to end my nap and get out in the cold, wet weather) I was absolutely amazed when I arrived at the church to find so many people scurrying around trying to get all the bags, turkeys, hams, etc. loaded in the automobiles to deliver the meals. I was ashamed of myself when I encountered our people.
The response from people receiving the Meals ranged from absolute shock/disbelief to humble gratitude. All of our “servants” that I have spoken with were deeply moved by the experience. One of our young ladies was told by a recipient that we had blessed her. The response: “NO we are the ones who are receiving the blessing!” One of the most consistent things I heard from others was that they just wished we had more bags with more meals to deliver!!!
This is the point of this blog. I too was thinking about how many people who are in walking distance of our buildings and who also needed some help with food for Thanksgiving. Then it dawned on me. Like the boy who was throwing the Star fish back into the ocean, we couldn’t help everyone but the ones we did help were blessed by the “Missional Obedience” of some special Christ-Followers.
My challenge to our hearts this Thanksgiving season is to simply DO WHAT WE CAN to help someone in need. We will never meet all the needs and we will certainly never run out of needs! But, it may just make an eternal difference in the ones we are able to help. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!