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Throwing Starfish

Good morning. It is Monday, January 31, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.

I am a big fan of Max Lucado. His writings speak to me. Many years ago, I was struggling with life. I holed myself up in a motel room by myself for two days with the book "And the Angels Were Silent". I laughed. I cried. I prayed. I headed home a better person.

More recently I found this by Max. I would like to share it with you this morning.

“Water. All Noah can see is water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the west. Water. For forty days it has rained. For months they have floated. For weeks Noah has been wondering, How long is this going to last? Can God re-create this world? Is he able to start over? Can he, and we, begin again?

Finally the boat bumped, and the rocking stopped. The hull of the ark was resting on ground, but the ground was still surrounded by water.

Noah sent a raven on a scouting mission; it never returned. He sent a dove. It came back shivering and spent. Then, he pulled a dove out of the bowels of the ark and ascended the ladder. With a prayer he let it go and watched until the bird was no bigger than a speck.

All day he looked for the dove’s return but all he sees is water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the . . .

You know the feeling. You have stood where Noah stood. You’ve known your share of floods. Flooded by sorrow at the cemetery, anger at the disability in your body, fear of the uncertainty of a pandemic. You’ve been on Noah’s boat. And you’ve needed what Noah needed: hope.

Hope doesn’t promise an instant solution but rather the possibility of an eventual one. Sometimes all we need is a little hope. That’s all Noah needed. And that’s what Noah received.

This is how the Bible describes the moment: “When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf!” (Gen. 8:11).

An olive leaf. This leaf was more than foliage; this was promise. The bird brought more than a piece of a tree; it brought hope. For isn’t that what hope is? Hope is an olive leaf—evidence of dry land after a flood. Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.

To all the Noahs of the world, to all who search the horizon for a glimpse of hope, God proclaims, “Yes!” And he comes. He comes as a dove. He comes bearing fruit from a distant land, from our future home. He comes with a leaf of promise that he can make all things new.” – Max Lucado

That simple olive leaf is all it took. Noah knew that hope was on the horizon. He did not see the land, but he knew it was there. He knew they would soon leave the boat. He knew they would soon walk on solid ground.

The story of Noah can be found in Genesis chapters 6,7,8 and 9. The story tells us that the earth was filled with violence. The people were very wicked and that the thoughts of men was evil continually. Day and night, without ceasing. Nothing but evil thoughts and deeds.

God was sorry He had created humans and was going to destroy everything, BUT Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

We owe our very existence to Noah. Have you ever thought about that? If Noah had not been “perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9) we would not be here. He walked with God and God saw “that you are righteous before Me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

One man! Incredible to think about!

So many times in my life I have thought, “what can one person do?” “How can my one vote matter?” “How can I possibly have an influence on the world?” But, as we can see, it only takes one. Just one person to change things. One person to turn things around.

Have you heard the starfish story?

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a girl picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the girl, he asked, “What are you doing?” The girl replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” The man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the girl bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, she said, “I made a difference for that one.”

Like that little girl, we can make a difference. Maybe not something the world will take note of, but it could change our little corner of the world. One person can make a difference!

There is a saying “Be the change you would like to see.” Instead of grumbling about it, be it. Be that thing you would like to see in the world. You may never know the influence you have on others…that is, this side of heaven.

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