The Starfish


Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

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.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

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

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.” —Adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)


  1. Steve —

    Good story (I have heard it before, but always enjoy hearing it again) and one that makes the point. As I have said before if you are being gracious there should be no problem. The question I ask is why not go to the convention and at least hand out the bills. My experience thus far is that people at least look at the back and I think they read some of the message. Asking someone the question about their future is fair. The people attending need to hear the message.

    I shared my concerns in another comment, but I have never felt it was a bad idea or wrong to go. In fact if you only share with one person or hand out one bill you are successful (and I am sure you were able to do more).

    Since I could not go I spent time today praying for those of you that went and I am waiting to hear the success story.

    Mike …

  2. I really appreciated your prayers; we needed them today…

  3. I rather liked this: you can get a nice, humanist message out of it.

    Kudos, Steve.

  4. Steve, I love the analogy! Sometimes it is discouraging to meet so many stony-ground hearers, but we tread on…Thanks for your encouragement.

  5. I met a man named Moses this week as I preached to him and sevral others he said ” I think you are correct in your doctrine and I agree with what you say, “But” you can’t talk too people you don’t know and expect them to listen to you” The reply came, I don’t want them to listen to “me” I want them to listen to the Gospel, Preach it like you’ll never have another chance!!!

    Love ya Steve. keep going and never give up!!!

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