Community in Action…

I’m watching the morning news and a familiar name comes across the screen. CIA. No, not the Federal Agency…Community In Action.

The story is about a  group through North High School that works in the community on service projects. According to the story the group has grown from the original five members to about thirty students in just a few years.

Why did it catch my attention? Because Craig was one of the co-founders of this group.

During his junior year, Craig and classmate, BJ. Rademacher, formed this group to allow students to have an opportunity to reach out to their community. The students worked at the local food bank, did landscape and cleaning at an inner city church, visited retirement centers, raised money for CJ’s Bus.

To see that the group is still going strong gave me a momentary burst of pride. But it also made me think of a story I told Craig several years ago. One that he loves to share when he gives talks.

A man is walking down a beach early one morning. He spots something up ahead and as he gets closer, he realizes it’s a little boy. As he approaches, he watches as the little boy reaches down and picks up a starfish that has washed up during the night. The boy carries it toward the water’s edge and flings it into the ocean. He then turns, walks back, picks up another and repeat the process.

The man watches for a few minutes and then says, “What do you think you are doing? There are thousands of starfish on the beach. You can’t possible save them all. It hardly makes a difference!”

The boy pauses, looks at the starfish in his hand, throws it into the ocean and says, “It made a difference to that one!”

Everyday we are given opportunities to make a difference. A smile to an overworked clerk…holding a door open…helping a mother with small children…assisting the elderly…dropping off can goods or clothing to the homeless shelter. The possibilities are endless.

The starfish story reminds me of another story.

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out – the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. — Luke 7:11-17

I love this story. Can you imagine the joy that woman felt? Can you imagine the joy it gave Jesus to do it for her? Imagine the little boy on the beach. What if he, like the man, has concentrated on the enormity of the situation, rather than taking action?

In both stories, help was unsolicited. A need was recognized and acted upon. Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”

It’s that simple. It’s that easy to make a difference. And who knows the ripple effect that it might have.

To Craig and youth everywhere who take the time to think of others…thanks for all you do…thanks for reminding us that no matter the deed…it does indeed matter to someone. And that someone is a child of God’s.”

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’   –Matthew 25:40

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