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Matthew Kelly Talk

Making A Difference As

Children Of God

We go out into a world that's difficult to live in, difficult to live in as Christians. We ask ourselves, "What are the answers to the problems in the world?" Many people say it is beyond our reach; we need God to come down and directly intervene and fix everything up. God most certainly could do that, but He created us in a different way, and it's more likely He wants us to address the situation a little differently. A wise man was once asked, "What do you think most needs to be changed in the world?" He replied, "I do...I do."

Once upon a time there was a businessman, and he was very, very successful. But all of a sudden one year, his company was in a lot of struggle, a stormy business environment, and everyone thought his company was going to go bankrupt. But this man had a plan, a plan that he knew without a doubt would revive his company. So he decided to hold a dinner for all his staff, and during the dinner, he decided that he would show them the first part of the plan. But more importantly than that, he wanted to show them that if his plan was to be successfully implemented, it was dependent on the individual response of each one of his employees.

The Saturday morning that evening the dinner was to be held, he sat at home writing the speech, and his wife had to go out shopping. And within ten minutes of his wife being gone, there was a knock on his study door, and there appeared his young seven year old boy, who said, "Dad, I'm bored. I've got nothing to do." So the father half-tried to amuse the child by playing a game with him and half-tried to finish writing his speech at the same time. And this went on for nearly two hours until the father worked out that unless he could find some other way to amuse his child, he wasn't going to get his speech finished in time.

So he picked up a magazine, and he flipped through the magazine until he found a large, brightly colored map of the world, and he tore that page out, and he ripped the map of the world into many pieces and threw the pieces all over the living room floor. He said to his child, "Son, if you can put the map of the world back together, I'll give you a dollar." The child rushed to the task, eager to earn some extra pocket money, and the father returned to his study, believing he had just bought himself two, maybe three, hours to finish his speech because the father also knew that his seven year old boy had no idea what the map of the world looked like. About ten minutes later, there was a knock on the study door, and there appeared the young seven year old boy who exclaimed, "Dad, I'm finished!" There he stood smiling with the completed puzzle. The father, in amazement, said to his child, "Son, how did you finish it so quickly?" And the boy said, "Well, you know, Dad, I had no idea what the map of the world looked like but on the back, there was a picture of a man," and the boy said, "I put a piece of paper down, and I put the picture of the man together because I knew what the man looked like. And then I put another piece of paper on top, and I held them tight together, and I turned them over. I took the top piece of paper off, and there was the world, complete, in order, just as it should be." He said, "You know, Dad, I figured if I got the man right, the world would be right."

Because, you know, the world is the way it is today because of the influences and effects of individuals, men and women just like ourselves. We've got to do our own little bit; we've got to make a difference. And sometimes, we become discouraged, and we wonder, can we make a difference?

Once upon a time there was a young boy, and every afternoon he used to walk along a beach near his home. And as he walked along there would be many, many starfish left on the beach because as the tide had gone out in the afternoon, the starfish had been stranded.

So as he walked along the beach he picked the starfish up one by one and threw them back into the water. Now he couldn't pick them all up because there was just too many, but as he walked along, he picked as many as he could up, and he threw them back into the water. So one day as he got toward the end of the beach - and the beach was very long - an old man came walking in the other direction. And the old man saw what the young boy was doing. And from a distance, he yelled out, "What are you doing, boy? Boy, what are you doing? You're never going to make a difference! You're never going to make a difference!" The boy continued to pick them up, one by one, and to throw them back into the water. And as the old man got close to the boy, he grabbed the boy, and he said, "Boy, what are you doing? What are you doing? You're never going to make a difference! Look, boy," and he turned the boy around and made him face down the beach, and he said, "Look, boy, there's hundreds of them! There's thousands of them! You're never going to make a difference, boy! You're never going to make a difference! Forget about them! Just enjoy your walk! Enjoy your walk!" And with that, the young boy walked a little further, and he reached down into the sand, and he picked up one more starfish, and he stood up, and he threw it deep into the water. And he looked the old man deep in the eye, and he said, "You know, I made a difference for that one. I made a difference for that one."