By request…

The Starfish Story…

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore.

Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks. “Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.” “But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it!

You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.

h/t Matt G


By request… — 9 Comments

  1. It’s the convenient that humanity has with nature – and with themselves.

    The law of the jungle in the ‘inner city’ denies that covenant.

  2. Thirty-five years ago while working in the ER, I asked an older nurse the same question Wilson had asked. I was told “you can only work to save the one in front of you. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but when you lose, you know you worked your hardest to win. You go home, hug your family, say a prayer, get up the next day and do it all over again. You do what you can the best you can for the one in front of you right now.”
    She was right. So was John Cronin. A cup of tea in the early morning with the sun coming up watching the dogs do their thing does help.
    Never have seen the starfish story before…very nice.

  3. And now for your bitter dose of reality.

    When I first heard this story, it was a little girl being all wise and throwing back starfish. But starfish are barely alive in the first place so it didn’t really make any difference at all to that one. It had no brain or consciousness that we would recognize as such. it is like saying you are going to fail to cut your grass today because it “will make a difference to those grass blades left standing”. And statistically, it made no difference at all to the starfish population. They breed by releasing clouds of eggs, most of which are nothing more than food for other animals. by tossing in the starfish, the person made no difference to the starfish, no difference in the grand scheme of things, no difference according to any moral code other than Janism, and did setback the starfish carcass eating population of sea birds, endangered turtles and crabs.

    The point of this exercise is: you must enslave yourself to the greater good because it “will make a difference”. The point ought to be, “do what conscience demands” and conscience is informed by culture. Some population elements are trying very hard to turn our Christian culture into a communist culture. Christians serve others as service to God. Communists serve others because they are told to.

  4. Professor Hale is correct. We, as Christians, perform our service to God; we trust Him to know what needs to be done, and for whom. As the Bible says, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23) We trust that God will put us in front of those who will benefit by it.