How Big Is One?

As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning, he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a local native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he hurled things into the ocean.

As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.

Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was doing. “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”

“But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach,” the man replied. “You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”

The story above is one of the stories featured in my book INSPIRED: A Collection of Inspiring True-Life Stories for Every Situation. It is a story that reveals the two main groups of people in the world: the doers and the doubters.

It is a story that was created to strengthen the hands of those who have chosen to do the little they can for the good of humanity – one good at a time.

And I have shared the story to encourage you as you make your own contributions, to keep going and not give up. Never think for a moment that your work is in vain, no. And never take anything for granted, for it is the little things that make the big difference.

Sometimes the problems seem so big and complex that one is tempted to assume that there is nothing that one can do, or – as some people say – that only God can help the situation. But while I may not have lived long enough, I’ve studied long and widely enough, to know that God has never come down once to solve man’s problems. It is people who have solved the world’s problems. And even when God is involved, He has simply instructed humans on what to do to go forward.

So remember today, that the little you do is far better and more profitable to mankind than the plenty that doubters, complainers, and critics will ever do or has ever done. And if you are still wondering what to do, let me encourage you to start with anything that will be of help to the other person. Feed a hungry mouth, educate someone, take a girl off the street (guys, I mean off prostitution), help your neighbours to restore peace in their home, show the way to some orphans and reach out to the struggling widow, visit the hospitals and prisons and offer hope to the dying and helpless, be a voice to the voiceless, refuse to adjust your weights or meter wrongly, determine to keep reasonable price for your products and services, don’t litter the streets with your waste, do your work with conscience and effectiveness – just do good in your own way.

And if your question is, why do the good? Two answers: one, you will be helping someone and making the society better. And two, you will be sowing a seed; for all the good you do today will return to you tomorrow, a hundred fold.

You can make a difference.

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