A young man on vacation at the beach got up one morning at dawn to take a stroll on the sand. As he made his way along he happened upon an elderly gentleman who was searching for starfish that had been stranded on the shoreline by the tide. Whenever the old man found one, he would carefully pick it up and fling it back into the ocean.
After following the gentleman for a while and watching him rescue several starfish, the young man approached him and asked, “Sir, why are doing what you are doing?” Somewhat surprised at the question, the gentleman answered, “If I don’t get these poor creatures back into the ocean they will die when the morning sun hits them.” “I understand that,” said the young man, “but the beach goes on for miles and there’s no way you can rescue all the starfish. I mean, if you think about it, how much difference can what you are doing really make?” At that point the elderly gentleman picked up another starfish, flung it into the ocean, and said, “It made a big difference to that one.”
In 1 Corinthians 9:19-22, the apostle Paul talks about his chameleon-like approach to attempting to win people to Jesus. He says, “I am free from all men, but I have made myself a servant to all men. I became a Jew under the law that I might win the Jews who live under the law. I became a Gentile not under the law that I might win the Gentiles who don’t live under the law. I became weak that I might win the weak.” But then he says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22, E.S.V.).
You’ll notice that Paul had to exchange the word “all” with the word “some” in order to truthfully finish that last sentence. No matter how great he was at winning people to Jesus, there was no way that he was ever going to win everybody. Even Jesus Himself hadn’t been able to do that during His earthly life and ministry. However, in regards to each person that Paul got saved, his efforts made a big difference to that one. The point is that individuals matter, and getting just one saved makes all the effort worthwhile. Even mass evangelistic crusades in which hundreds are won to Christ can be boiled down to the individual salvation experiences of each of the hundreds.
Christian, have you ever seriously asked Jesus to use you to win someone to Him? If you haven’t, let me encourage you to start doing so. The fact is that you might have more spiritual impact upon that certain person than the world’s greatest evangelist could have. Whether that person be a family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, fellow student, or someone else, you can become the “Paul” who leads him or her into a saving relationship with Jesus. Will it be easy? Perhaps not. But whatever time, energy, and effort you put into it will be rewarded a zillion fold throughout eternity if you can win that person to Christ. So what are you waiting for? Get to it. Some “starfish” out there needs your help.