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The Circle of Difference

The Circle of Difference (Audio)

It’s often difficult to be titled a “pastor” in today’s age. The older folks have their idea of what the pastor should be like, and what the pastors family should act like. It’s easy to see the younger folks, especially if you are in my age bracket of nearly senior living, with a more modern view of the church and the role of the pastor. I’m proud to be called Pastor Grandpa by many in my neck of the woods. I love the children and am happy when they gather around for hugs. I love the young families and know the trials of parenthood and the early married life they face. I love the middle age as they enter their adult stride of settled life. I love the seniors, their stories and faithful examples of life to everyone.

I guess in the midst of everything we are supposed to be, I simply want to make a difference in someone’s life.

Every day living should consider that there are many you can be a difference to help them in a moment of need. Being kind to the shopper who needs help with their cart, offering to help someone with a heavy load while at the post office, letting the frazzled driver into the lane… And never expecting anything in return! Why? Be a difference and it comes around so someone will make a difference in your own life when you are in need yourself.

It’s a circle of difference.

It’s not the “karma” speak of “what comes around, goes around”…rather, it’s the way I choose to live every day. Try to be a difference, so that a difference happens in your own personal world!

Perhaps this thought comes from something I listened to before the sun came up. Here’s the gist of the story:

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Throwerby Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

My thought today: Who are you making a difference for without thinking about receiving anything in return? Albert Schweitzer passed when I was about 10 years old. I never knew of him, and only tangentially have I ever read anything about him. Upon his death, the NY Times penned a story where one of his famous thoughts was paraphrased:

“You must give some time to your fellow man…Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man’s help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.” ~Albert Schweitzer

Giving of yourself to another is a privilege you should not take lightly. Simply do good, cordially, and it would astound you the changes you see around yourself as others pick up the similar circle of life and do good for others. Let’s make a difference!

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