Look around and see if you can make a difference

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, June 22, 2022

After my water aerobics class this morning I realized I didn’t have much at home for a quick lunch so I stopped by the store. My hair was still a little wet on the ends, but I was just planning to scoot in and out. I quickly picked up a few items and went through the checkout. I had to do a double take when I saw the price! As I left the store I randomly spoke to the shopper next to me.

“Wow! These prices are crazy. I don’t know what people with families to feed are doing.”

The well-dressed attractive lady I had spoken to replied, “My niece has really been struggling so our families are going to move in together and share expenses.”

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When I spoke to her I had no idea that her family was suffering. But most of us on occasion have had to watch our pennies fairly closely. I can imagine starting out with a young family only to watch the prices of nearly everything going through the roof.

I don’t think it’s the government’s job to feed and clothe the populace. Actually, in my humble opinion, I think that is part of the problem we are facing now. There are help wanted signs almost everywhere I look. I make no apology for thinking the best way for a person to get ahead is by working hard, but I do think that it is our job as individuals and churches to help people when times are hard.

It was never intended for the government to take on the role of the church. But it is definitely our role as Christians to meet needs when and where we can. In times like these I think we should all keep our eyes open to the plight of people around us and step up to help.

Maybe we can only give a little or do a little for someone else, but a little help can be the difference in hope or despair to someone in a bad situation. I remember years ago I was at a teacher’s conference and the speaker told a little story to make her point. It went something like this:

An old man was walking down the beach after a huge storm had blown in thousands of starfish. He spotted a young boy in the distance who stopped his walk every few steps to throw something into the sea.

     The old man called out, “Hello there young man. Do you mind if I ask what you are doing?”

     “I’m throwing starfish into the water. They are stranded here on the sand and will die in the hot sun.”

     The old man answered, “There are so many starfish. There is no way you can help them all. How could you possibly make a difference?”

     The young boy bent down to throw another starfish into the ocean. Then he smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)


Jan Penton Miller writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle.