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To that one, what you do makes a difference

You might remember this story. It surfaced several years ago and became an illustration used in thousands of motivational speeches and sermons. It touched my heart the first time I heard it, and it still speaks to me. What we do in our lives matters. You matter! Those we touch with the message of God’s love, all matter!

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

“One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked, he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

“Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, ‘I’m saving these starfish, sir.’

“The old man chuckled aloud, ‘Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?’

“The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water. Turning to the man, he said, ‘I made a difference to that one!’”

Sometimes, we can see the challenge before us as overwhelming.

Last month below my column, we highlighted the impact of child abuse and shared some staggering numbers. Numbers like: 69,000 child maltreatment referral reports received, one in four children live in poverty, one in 10 children live in extreme poverty, twenty five children died from abuse and neglect, sixty-eight children and youth committed suicide.

Data released in May of 2017 showed an estimated 1,100 opioid related deaths in our state. Did you know that an estimated 122,000 adolescents are addicted to prescription pain relievers in North Carolina?

After reading these numbers, you might think, “Can I really make a difference?”

When I catch myself feeling this way, it helps me to remember these stories:

A young teenage girl overwhelmed by the birth of her newborn baby comes into our care at Care House and finds the help she needs for herself and her daughter. It mattered to that one!

A young boy’s father died and his mother lost herself in drugs. He became suicidal, ready to give up on life and began harming himself. At Cameron Boys Camp, the chiefs helped him to face his hopelessness. He asked Jesus into his heart and experienced new life in Christ. It mattered to that one!

Being confined to his house for years left this aged man feeling isolated and alone. A Baptist building crew sponsored by NCBAM (North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry) showed up at his home one Saturday morning to build him a wheelchair ramp. Before they left that day, they were given an opportunity to share the message of God’s love. The man asked Jesus into his heart. It mattered to that one!

She was malnourished, emaciated and relegated to scouring the trash for anything to eat until she came into care at our Good Shepherd Home in Guatemala. It mattered to that one!

Linda Morgan, who serves as our Statewide Director, Child Residential Services, recently sent this email:

“We took two brothers into care this past week. They are four and six. Their housemother took them and purchased Sunday shoes for the worship service at First Baptist Church, Bryson City. She went to tuck them in that night and the 6-year-old was asleep clutching his new shoes on his pillow.

“My goodness, the little things we take for granted are tremendous life changing events in these young lives. Let’s never forget what a difference we make in the lives of these children by just providing for basic needs — food, clothing, shelter, and most of all God’s love.” It mattered to each one of these boys!

You matter! The difference you are making in the lives of those in need matters! Your prayers matter! Your gift of time matters! The food you give matters! Your contributions matter! The message of God’s love and amazing grace that you help share matters!

To that one starfish, it mattered. BCH is all about saving our world one child, one family, one individual at a time. And to that one –– it matters!

Thanks to you “it mattered” to more than 32,000 last year.

Jesus gave us the most wonderful example: To that one hanging on the tree beside Jesus, it mattered! To God, you matter, to those we care for each day, you matter, to me, YOU MATTER!.

I am grateful you allow us the privilege “to matter” in these precious lives we serve. Thank you!

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