Do the Little Things

One morning, walking along the shore after a big storm had passed, the man found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see.
He noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often, bent down to pick up something, and threw it into the sea. The boy came closer and the man called out, “What it is that you are doing?”

The boy replied “Throwing starfish into the sea. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

I have just visited St David’s Cathedral is west Wales. At the shrine of the saint there are his words

Be Joyful; Keep the Faith; Do the Little Things.

My father used to sign autograph books with this rhyme

Do the work that’s nearest, though it’s dull at whiles,
helping, when we meet them, lame dogs over stiles.

Living out the Christian faith is not done with grand gestures and vast diocesan-wide projects, but by simple acts of goodness and kindness in our local community. We may not have many starfish in the Wykeham Benefice, nor, probably, that many lame dogs waiting expectantly by our stiles, but there are many people in need of neighbourly care, a kind word, a cup of tea, a brief chat. Do the Little Things, and so we will honour God and live our faith.

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