Written By Leslie Koh, Singapore
You’re active in church. You’re there every Sunday morning, arriving early to arrange the chairs and set up the worship team’s equipment, or to help pick up disabled members from their homes and wheel them to their usual spots in the worship hall.
Or your personal ministry is counselling troubled teens or comforting lonely old folks, so every week or so, you meet them individually after service, over a cup of coffee, to listen to their woes and pray with them. And over the years, they’ve come up to you, one by one, to thank you and tell you how much you mean to them.
But nobody knows this. Your name doesn’t figure anywhere in thank-you lists or the Who’s Who in the church newsletter. When they announce appointments of deacons and leaders, you’re not one of them. When they name contenders for the Hall of Heroes, your name is missing. Few people greet you by name. Why, hardly anyone even knows who you are.
“It’s okay,” you tell yourself. “God knows. I don’t need to be known; it’s okay being low-profile.”
Except . . . it’s not. Not really. Because everyone needs a pat on the back now and then. Because sometimes, you’re tired of being taken for granted, and a little recognition and gratitude won’t hurt. You’re not jealous of the ones who get all the credit and the fame (really!), but you’re a little weary of doing all the back-end work without being appreciated.
Hey, we could all do with a little “success” in church (or at work, if this is true at your workplace too). But it’s not something you seem to be enjoying.
Remember the story of the man who goes down the beach picking up starfish stranded on the sand and throwing them back into sea? Someone asks him, “How you’re going to save all of them? There’re too many.” He answers, “Yes, but I’m making a difference to this starfish.” The usual lesson is, you might not be able to save everybody, but you can save some, one at a time.
Fine. But here’s the thing: Do you remember the man’s name?
Bet you didn’t. No one ever does. He wasn’t mentioned in his church bulletin or praised at his Sunday services. His pastor doesn’t even know his name. But to every single starfish he threw back into the sea, he’s a true savior. They all know exactly who he is. Who is he? He is the Starfish Picker.
And that’s who you are. Only those whom you help know you. The girl you counsel every time she breaks down. The old man you help up the steps every week. To them, you are their world, because you are the only one who cares. The crowds may not know your name, but they do. You are their starfish picker.
“But I’ve only helped five people,” you argue. Maybe it’s one. Maybe, you think, that’s why few in church notice what you do. But as far as these five people—or two, or one—are concerned, you are a Godsend. At night, they thank God for placing you into their lives. Why? Because you are God’s starfish picker.
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