By Robert J. Tamasy
Recently my wife and I watched an excellent film, “I Still Believe,” based on the story of musician and songwriter Jeremy Camp and tragedy that dramatically shapes his life. At one point, Camp’s soon-to-be girlfriend looks up at a museum depiction of the universe and says, “I’m just one star in an infinite galaxy.”
That humble observation impressed me, especially when Camp replied, “But some stars shine brighter than others.” Do you ever look up in the sky on a cloudless night and marvel at the stars? With the naked eye, we see only a tiny fraction of the billions of stars astronomers tell us inhabit the universe. So what difference can one star possibly make? Quite a lot, actually.
If we come back much closer to home and consider the star we call the sun, we know that without it, life on earth would be impossible. To us it seems like a huge ball of fire, yet compared to many stars in myriad galaxies, it is among the smallest. Nevertheless, we and all of life on our planet depend on it for warmth, illumination, and many light-inducing properties such as photosynthesis.
So, being “just one star in an infinite galaxy” does not mean we are unimportant. I love the story of a man running across the beach, picking up objects one at a time, and then throwing them back into the ocean. When a passer-by asked what he was doing, the man replied, “Throwing starfish into the sea so they don’t die.” The passer-by responded, but there are hundreds of starfish out here on the beach. You can’t save them all. What difference can you make?” Without looking up, the man picked up another starfish, ran toward the water and threw it in. “I made a difference for that one,” he announced.
Let’s sharpen the focus even more, narrowing it down to what we do in the marketplace. Some aspire to become the next internationally known industry leader, while others dream about being a game-changing inventor, innovator or visionary. Even if we will attain such status, we can still succeed in becoming that single star that becomes a difference-maker.
Executives and supervisors can serve as teachers, trainers, encouragers or even friends for up-and-coming employees showing promise. They can become mentors, sharing experience and wisdom to help them make key life and career decisions. We can all positively influence coworkers and peers in many ways: “As iron sharpens iron, so one many sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
I owe much to people who had a strong impact in my life: An elementary school teacher who told my parents that I was “college material.” The college English instructor who encouraged me to pursue writing. The managing editor of a suburban newspaper who offered practical professional tips that served me well throughout my career as a journalist. My first boss at CBMC, who was willing to work with me, a “diamond in the rough,” so I could expand my horizons as a magazine editor and book author.
People familiar with the Bible know about the apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament; not nearly as many are familiar with Barnabas, his courageous mentor. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, but it was his protégé, Joshua, who led them into the Promised Land. The prophet Elijah trained his successor, Elisha, to be God’s instrument in even greater miracles. If you perceive yourself as “just one star in an infinite galaxy,” consider who can you help to shine brighter than others.
© 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and has edited other books. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
1. When you gaze into the night sky, seeing hundreds, even thousands of stars, what thoughts come to your mind?
2. How do you relate personally to the comment from the movie, “I am just one star in an infinite galaxy”? Does that seem like a good thing, or not? Explain your answer.
3. Who has had a profound impact in your life – professionally, personally, or spiritually? What difference did they make for you? That is, what do you think your would life and career be like, if they had not been a part of it?
4. Who do you know – who is in your sphere of influence – that you might come alongside to assist, perhaps to become one of those people who shine brighter than others?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Daniel 12:3; Isaiah 43:4; Philippians 2:15; Timothy 2:2