Making a Little Difference

sanddollarfor Sunday, September 22, 2013
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
18th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 20
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 16:1-13
prop: a sand dollar
source: I have read this story on various places across the Internet.

Good morning!

This is a sand dollar. A sand dollar is an animal that lives in the ocean. So this is actually just the shell of a sand dollar that died a long time ago. Sand dollars live on the ocean floor not far from the beach and when they are alive they are darker, covered with lots of tiny spines that look like hairs. These help them move along the ocean floor. When this one died, its shell washed up on the beach and my friend found it. We were surprised because most of the sand dollars that you find on the beach are broken from the waves. Sometimes…but very rarely, you can find live sand dollars at the beach. If the weather and tides are just right, you can see them at the surf’s edge or feel them with your feet as you wade out in the water.

But once upon a time, on a day after a big storm, a young boy went to the beach and saw hundreds of live sand dollars along the edge of the water. The tide was going out and it was already a hot day. The young boy knew that if the sand dollars stayed out of the water and got too hot, they would dry out and die. So very carefully, the boy picked up a sand dollar in each hand and carried them out beyond the breaking waves and gently placed them back on the ocean floor. The boy went back and forth, back and forth, carrying two sand dollars on each trip. A man came along the beach and stopped to watch the boy. After a few moments, the man called to the boy saying “What are doing? Don’t you know that you can’t save all of these sand dollars? There are hundreds of them! They are going to dry out and die. There is no way you can make a difference.” Well, the boy picked up two more sand dollars, looked at the man, and walked back past the breaking waves. The boy gently placed the sand dollars back in the water, stood up, and called back to the man, “I made a difference to those two.”

In our Bible story today, we are reminded that being faithful in the little things is just as important as being faithful in the big things. We don’t always get the big party and hoopla when we do the regular, ordinary, little nice things. And sometimes it seems that the little things won’t really make a difference. But Jesus tells us that everything makes a difference. And the little things we do may make a very big difference to someone else. As we do the little easy differences, it makes it easier to do the really hard differences that we are called to do.

Keep doing all the good, nice, little things you do. You are making a big difference in God’s world.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for all the little ways
that people help me.
Help me
to be faithful
in little nice ways
to those around me.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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2 responses to “Making a Little Difference

  1. Fran – I used this sermon TWICE this week for adults! The first was as a devotional for the Vestry meeting on Monday night, and the second one was as a closing thought for my lectionary based Bible Study Sunday School class this morning. (I think you will get a new subscriber from that one – a lady with 5 kids who wanted me to send it to her!) Well received both times. Thanks for your thoughts – and for putting them on line! CR

    • Thank you for sharing, Cindy! My church actually broke from lectionary today as it was Youth Sunday and our youth shared their experience from the Montreat Youth Conference this summer. The senior youth do the sermon and one girl took her time to thank the congregation for making her feel normal “in whatever definition it is that our church has for normal.” We discussed afterwards how we sometimes never really know the difference that we are making in someone else’s life. Thank you for letting me know that my sermon made a difference for you. 🙂

I wonder what you think of this story?

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