Pictured above is one of the lighthouses in my collection. It is one of my favorites not only because it is decorated with a beach theme (I’m an island boy at heart), but because it was given to me by my middle son, Joshua, as a Father’s Day gift right before he moved out to live as an independent bachelor.
I recently came across an adaptation of an essay titled the Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley. After reading it, I immediately thought of my beach-themed lighthouse and was inspired to write this devotion. So, in my attempt to stay true to the original tale while retelling it in a way that I could use it as a springboard for this post, here is my personal adaptation of The Starfish Story.
Once upon a time, there was a young girl who loved the sea. One day, she walked to the beach after a big storm and saw quite a number of starfish washed up on the shore by the tide. While some were dragging themselves aimlessly about the sand, others appeared to not be moving at all.
She also noticed a young man carrying the starfish one by one back into the ocean. As she approached him she asked, “What is it that you are doing?”
The young man replied “Saving as many starfish as I can. Unless I take them back into the water, they will die.”
The young girl replied, “But there must be hundreds of starfish here on the beach. I’m afraid you won’t be able to make much of a difference.”
The young man bent down again, picked up another starfish and gently placed it back into the water. Then he turned to her and said, “It made a difference to that one.”
Inspired, the young girl joined the boy in taking starfish back into the sea. Soon other beachgoers came along and joined them, and eventually, all the starfish were saved.
Every true lighthouse has a life-saving story to tell. Depending on where they have been erected, some lighthouses have saved more lives than others. Still, what truly matters is that every ray of light emitted by these sentinels of the sea has made a difference in the life of a lost seafarer. The Starfish Story and my beach-themed lighthouse remind me that as lighthouses for God, we too are called to “save” as many lost souls as possible. We do this by simply guiding them towards the One who offers the living waters of eternal life, namely Jesus.
As Christians, we are to shine the light of Christ not only by proclaiming the Good News of salvation orally and in writing but by putting the same faith that saved us into practical action. That means that we must also live out our faith in visible and tangible ways. Some of us will have the opportunity to reach more people with the love of God than others, but remember that every family member, colleague, friend, or cashier behind a counter who does not know Jesus as Savior is like a starfish who has been stranded on the sand and in desperate need of water. This means that every soul counts!
Just like in the story, you may encounter people aimlessly wandering on the sands of life trying to satiate their spiritual thirst. In their quest, they may be drawn to addictions (behavioral, chemical), mysticism, or even the occult. You may also encounter people who will seem lifeless, not moving about much. People who either gave up on life or whose hearts have become hardened by disbelief or by a disappointing spiritual experience. Regardless of their spiritual condition, you will have to guide them like you would a stranded starfish, with love, compassion, and patience. Most of all, you will need to be totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. For it is He who convicts and draws people unto God.
But what if it’s only you and me trying to reach out to our neighbors? What if only one or two people among the many (possibly thousands) we meet in our lifetime allow us to lead them to the water Jesus offered the Samaritan woman? Would that make a difference? Considering the Starfish Story and Luke 15:10 I would say it most certainly would! No matter how many or how few we reach, it will make an ETERNAL difference to every single soul we help usher into God’s kingdom.
I loved the starfish story so much that I decided to search the internet for a print of a lighthouse and a starfish together. I actually found one by Pamela Burger, a self-taught freelance artist. But just when I was about to place the order, it dawned on me that my beautiful and talented daughter, Joanna, has been experimenting with acrylics. So, I’ve asked her to paint one for me. Of course, she will need time to find her muse. When she does, I’ll post her creation and add it to this devotion.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the source of living water. The only water that springs up to eternal life. May your saving light continue to shine through me so that I can help lead thirsty souls (sand wandering starfish) to your life-giving water. In your precious name, I pray, Amen.
“You are a Jew,” said the woman. “How can You ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who is asking you for a drink, ’you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”” -John 14:9-10
“But whoever drinks the water I (Jesus) give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” -John 4:14
“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” -Mark 16:15 NLT
“I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” -Luke 15:10 CSB