“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children. And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians. The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left (bold italics are mine for emphasis). Katie J. Davis
As I sit here at the beach in El Zonte, El Salvador observing surfers catching that next great wave, seeing a dog-owner play fetch with their dog on the beach, and listening to the oh-so-soothing sound of the waves steadily crashing as the wind gently caresses over and around me, I have been imagining the above story about the young man and the starfish. I can see them ahead of me on the beach. To me it seems that the young man has a deeply rooted value and esteem for the sanctity of life. I imagine as he leans over and slips his fingers around each starfish he feels the weight of the substance of the life within that starfish. I also imagine that, rather than being overwhelmed and frustrated by the fact that there are so many starfish that he will not be able to rescue, he’s probably filled with joy, knowing that he is able to see some of the starfish returned to their rightful place and given an opportunity to live and thrive. It is this young man who is truly wise, for he has recognized the just making a difference in the life of one is to make a huge difference overall.
This past week I had the opportunity to pick up and hold, love on, change diapers of, feed, and spend time with 16 precious children who are orphaned or have been abandoned, who many might look at in the same way that the ‘wise’ man looked at the starfish in the story above. People may think that there are just too many children to help; ‘What good does it really do to just help one?’ But as I held baby Layla in my arms, leaned down and kissed Alejandro on the forehead, and teased little Dulce, I was blessed to know the truth and joy that the young man in the story above knew. EACH of these lives is so important. Each of these kids deserves an opportunity to have a Christ-centered home, family, and education. While Abogar International Ministries will not be able to reach them all, nor any individual or other organization, we make an intentional effort to help as many as we can; valuing each one as worth it all. And we partner with others who, rather than disdaining our approach, desire also to join in. We desire to see these children be given an opportunity to live and thrive.
As I think this all through, I want to propose a 10% MOVEMENT! Katie Davis, quoted above, states that just 8% of Christians being actively involved in the life of ONE of the children who are in need will eradicate the problem of children not having homes, family, protection, or an opportunity-filled future. What if we had 10% of Christians rise up to the challenge?! 10% of anything is a tithe, and I challenge the Church of the world to give of a tithe of its people and resources to eradicate the problem of children being vulnerable to the multitude of dangers that they face without family, home, and education. There are many ways to become involved in this 10% MOVEMENT; to be bearers of the love, truth, and salvation of Jesus Christ to the children by providing food, housing, clothing, and educational opportunities to the children, working in the communities where there are high concentration of the children in need, finding a Christ-centered organization that is local to the children and truly helping them to know home, family, and educational experiences, considering adoption, or advocating and bringing attention to the need that these children have. I challenge you, yes YOU, today as you read this to open yourself to a listening posture before God as you ask Him how you best can become involved in the 10% MOVEMENT!
This is NOT a pitch for Abogar, nor for fundraising. This is a challenge for you and I to become part of a movement that is at the center of God’s heart (James 1:27)! It’s a pitch to encourage you to decide to ‘pick up a starfish’ with a deep value for life alongside the young man, rather than be like the wise man who questioned and tried discouraging him. I will end with a quote from Jedd Medefind, President of Christian Alliance For Orphans that I believe demonstrates well the biblical instruction for such a movement! I am a part of the 10% MOVEMENT… Helping one at a time. Are you?! Will you get involved in this movement of God’s heart for precious children?!
“Caring for orphans reflects the heart of God. From Isaiah’s call to “defend the cause of the fatherless” (1:17) to James’ placement of orphan care at the heart of “pure and undefiled religion” (1:27), the biblical mandate is clear. But this is not merely God’s expectation of us; it is a mirroring of His own character. “He defends the fatherless,” declares Deuteronomy 10:18. Describes the Psalmist, “He places the lonely in families.” To be like our heavenly Father, we’re invited to do the same.”