The Star Thrower

by Judy Ness

I just ordered a new poster for my wall—a modern-day parable. In many ways, it defines the work of our dedicated staff, families, and volunteers at Genesis Classical Academy.

There are multiple versions of this modern-day parable in print, but all are based on “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley, an American educator, philosopher, and natural science writer. Here is one adaptation of Eiseley’s original story:

The Star Thrower

A man was walking on the beach one day and noticed a boy who was reaching down, picking up a starfish and throwing it in the ocean. 

As he approached, he called out, “Hello! What are you doing?” The boy looked up and said, “I’m throwing starfish into the ocean.” 

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the man. “The tide stranded them. If I don’t throw them in the water before the sun comes up, they’ll die,” came the answer. 

“Surely you realize that there are miles of beach, and thousands of starfish. You’ll never throw them all back, there are too many.  You can’t possibly make a difference.” 

The boy listened politely, then picked up another starfish. As he threw it back into the sea, he said, “It made a difference for that one.” (

To say the past several months have been a tumultuous time is an understatement. Disagreement, division, uncertainty, and fear are rampant. A viral pandemic, rioting, economic upheaval and government mandates have changed our daily lives dramatically—and many suspect that life will never be quite the same. Some days, it can all seem overwhelming, and yet our faith leads us through the fear.

Quite frankly, we should not be surprised. We were forewarned more than 2000 years ago by the Savior of the world.

 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:6-13 RSV

None of us know how much time is left—for each of us individually, as a nation, or for the world. We can give in to despair—or we can use the time we are given to make a difference in this time, in this place, where God has planted us.

I choose to “keep throwing them back”—as fast as I can, as many as I can, for as long as I can—in the hopes that I can “make a difference for that one.”

Will you join us in this work at Genesis Classical Academy?

Judy Ness is a business owner, a former teacher, and a passionate supporter of Genesis Classical Academy in Winnebago, Minnesota. She and her husband James have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. They count among their blessings the wonderful education that their grandchildren are receiving at Genesis.