Many of you have at one time or another heard the Starfish Story. It goes like this: “One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing? The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die. Son, 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 boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said I made a difference for that one!
Most of us approach life like the man in this story. It doesn’t have to be a “starfish. The starfish can easily represent bills to pay, pounds to lose, tasks to finish, responsibilities to take care of, problems to solve, worries to be rid of, hours, days, weeks, years to use successfully, pages to read, thank-yous to write, or people to change. When we consider all those in multiples multiplied, the mountain top seems unreachable; and it really does become a wearying headache with no relief in sight. Where to begin? How to start?
Study the Bible, consider the Bible characters we encounter, examine God’s method in relating to them and their problems; it all begins with one: one person to be changed, one task to accomplish, one day to consider at a time, the first step, and, in most every case, change begins with you, not the other person (Matthew 7:5). When you hear the instructions given before flight on a commercial aircraft, the stewardess explains how, in case of an emergency, oxygen masks will be released from the compartment above you. Even though you have children traveling with you, you secure the mask on yourself first, before attempting to help any others. The principle is self-evident in this situation; but in real life circumstances we are very prone to ignore it. Almost always we think we are alright; everyone else and every other thing is messed up, and we have to fix it. Or there are too many bills, too many pounds, too many problems, too many children, et cetera, to even know where to start.
You need to begin with the true base point: you and God. You will not get anywhere with lasting permanence unless you begin here, and get clarity with the reason for your being; who am I, and Whose am I, and what do I do first, and then second? You want change for the better in your life, in your relationships, in your children, in your friends, in your bills, in your problems, in your use of time, you name it; it all begins, all the time, every day, with you and God.
Through 42 chapters of the man Job’s oppressive problems with and in life we do not find out Job’s (God’s) solution until 42:5-6: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. Too many who feel they know God and have “been there, tried that without finding any relief or any solutions and seeing their life really make a difference, have heard of him with their ears, but have never “seen Him as He is, because they have not wrestled with God and found Him to the point they can say with Job, now my eye sees you! You may have “seen God in the past as your Heavenly Father, as your Savior in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, as your provider, as your protector, but do you “see Him as all that personally, intimately, and real in this present moment and in the midst of your present problem.
He knows your “frame! He knows what you can do, what you can be, and where to start. If you have not experienced His guiding you to the first step, to right prioritizing, to who you are, and where you are, you are not “seeing Him. Genuine faith, and you say you are a person of faith, believes God when He says: “…He rewards (answers) those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
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