The younger man watched the older man pick up sand dollars one at a time and toss them back into the ocean, giving them a chance to survive. The young man thought, Why is he doing that? How foolish! He can't save them all.
As they came near one another, the younger one felt compelled to point out to the older man the futility in his actions. "You know," he said, "you can't save them all. Most of them will die here on the sand. What you are doing really won't make any difference."
The older man studied the young man for a moment. Then he bent down, picked up a sand dollar, and tossed it into the water. He smiled at the young man and said, "It made a difference to that one." Then he walked on, picking up sand dollars and tossing them back into the sea.
What we do for others who are less fortunate: the ill, the invalid, the grieving, the poor probably won't wipe out poverty, illness, pain, or disabilities. Nonetheless it is a mistake not to act because we think that it is insignificant and won't make a difference. It makes a difference to that person.
Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume II (2004).