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 March 2010 - Nr. 3
Happy Easter - Frohe Ostern

One morning a man goes for a walk on the beach. Far away he sees a small boy throwing some items into the ocean. After coming closer the man recognizes that the boy is throwing one starfish after another into the water. The beach was full of these little animals because the waves have tossed them ashore by night. So the man asks the boy: “What are you doing there?” “I am throwing starfish back into the ocean,” the boy replies, “otherwise they would die!” “You’re definitely right! But look how many starfish are on the beach – hundreds, thousands of them! You won’t be able to throw all of them back. You might as well stop it. Throwing a couple of starfish back into the sea – what difference does it make?” The boy smiles, picks up another starfish and tosses it into the water. “Well,” he says to the man, “I guess it’s a huge difference for this one, isn’t it?!”

Jesus says in the Bible: “Love your neighbour as yourself!” Of course he was asked who exactly this neighbour is. How can this neighbour be identified? Jesus answers this question with the well-known story of the Good Samaritan. This means that the one who needs help and support is our neighbour.

Sometimes we are dazzled about the huge problems in this world and we tend to become frustrated that we are not in the position to help at all. And suddenly we find ourselves in a position with an attitude like the man in our story: Every help is in vain and will not make a difference anyway. But I really admire the mind-set of the little boy! He knows that he cannot save every single starfish. However, he knows also that his small and limited possibilities do make a difference for some of the animals.

Loving the neighbour might not be a deed that the newspaper will talk about the next day. Instead we have so many opportunities in our families, neighbourhoods, communities, churches, etc. to act like the little boy: One helpless starfish at a time!

Pastor Matthias E. Hartwig


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