Someone told me a story of a man who watched a young boy dancing along the edge of the seashore. When the man walked closer, he noticed that the young boy wasn’t dancing, but was instead bending down to pick up starfish that had washed up on the beach. Once he picked up a starfish, he tossed each one back into the ocean water. Once the man was close enough to speak to the young boy, he asked why he was wasting so much time tossing starfish back into the ocean. He told the boy that he would not be able to save them all. The boy replied, “No, but I can at least save one.”
This story has impacted me in many ways. You see, five (5) years ago God called me to start a running ministry in middle Georgia, and it changed my life. I learned the importance of running for Him while learning to serve and reach others for Him. After many heavily active years of serving, God was literally moving our family in a whole new direction-South.
It was a very fast move with not a whole lot of time for goodbyes and transitioning. Although there was not much time to train or transition into new ministry leadership, I knew God had it all under control. I met with the committee, prayed with them and said my goodbyes. The next week our family moved to Florida.
The significance of this story was that God kept leaving me simple reminders through our home in Georgia and throughout our transition to Florida of a starfish. At first, I thought little about it other than the starfish story and how it related to God’s blessing on the Run for God ministry here. I thanked Him for allowing me to be His vessel. Unlike the boy on the shore, I wasn’t dancing, but I was instead running for Him searching for disciples. I tried to imagine what I looked like to Him-better yet, how all of us Run for God Warner Robins students/graduates (over 400) who became disciples-looked like running on the race course (or shore line). It was a beautiful thought. I had tears of joy and then a little sadness to close a chapter.
Several days would go by and I’d find a random starfish sticker on the pavement during my run, the remains of a “growing starfish” that Zach and I grew, and a starfish I had found at the beach long ago. It seemed every corner, God was revealing the starfish to me. Even though those I met through Run for God I may never see again, I knew it was all for His purpose and His glory. I thanked Him and felt peace that there was always one more for His glory. He had plans in store for me-plans for all of us.
Before I left I had lunch with a friend. I shared the story of the boy and the starfish. I gave her a departing gift of a starfish necklace and thanked her for reaching out to me in deep time of need. I don’t think she realized just how much of an impact she made in my life. I kept thinking of the boy tossing the starfish in the ocean. I am very thankful that God put her in my path and she noticed me and reached out. I’ll never forget her for that.
I hope you see where this story is going. Reach out. Speak out. Listen. Love. Run for Him. Give. You never know who’s life you will touch or save. What an impact. All for His glory.
Luke 15:7 “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Photo: Tyler holding live starfish in St. Simon’s Island (at Dolphin 10k/Runner’s High Blog post) before tossing them back into the ocean.