Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 30, 2017

starfish and dust-collecting books

How many books are collecting dust in various places of your home?  Five, ten, twenty or even one hundred volumes of wonderful works, written by skilled authors, are scattered throughout most of our homes. Many of those same books have great spiritual insight that is too important to be shelved away, only to be opened one day as our children or grandchildren dispose of our belongings.  I have collected so many volumes over time that my wife once ventured to make a deal that for every new book purchased, one book had to exit our home. Our deal hasn’t worked!

You may be thinking, “Where in the world is this article leading?” A few weeks ago at church a man in our Sunday School Class made an appeal. This particular man gives a lot of his time to a prison ministry and helping men who have fallen on hard times. He loves to pass out books that men could read during the week. So much so that he was running short of books. Since I had a FEW extra, I decided it was time to give them to a good cause. My wife was pleased!

Since some of my dust-collecting books were from sports heroes, I thought they would fit well. We took them to church and then, frankly, forgot about it. Until last night! The man from our class had left a book from Tim Tebow at the local jail.  When he visited the jail yesterday, an inmate shared that he had read it and was so impressed that he gave his life to Christ. So was it better to just hoard another book or give it away and see eternal work done? (The dictionary definition of a rhetorical question!)

A few weeks ago the book was five feet from my desk and accomplishing nothing. Now, the book has been used for more good that I could have ever imagined. I wonder about some of my other books … and what about some of yours?

So what is my point? What is the value in dust-collecting books compared to the value of life changing tools (books) used strategically? Now, I know there are some books that have special value, so don’t worry about those. But could there be some dust-collecting volumes in your own library that could be used for good? If you think this would never happen with one of your books, remember the Starfish.

My friend and Journey OnWord writer Mark Robb mentioned a Starfish recently. Now listen to another starfish (dusty old book) tale.  It’s called The Starfish Story.

“A wise man was walking along the beach and saw  a young man who was reaching down and picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He called out; ‘May I ask what it is that you are doing?’ The young man replied, ‘Throwing starfish into the ocean.’ ‘Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?’ asked the somewhat startled wise man. The young man replied, ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they will die.’

The wise man commented, ‘But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish along every mile?  You can’t possibly make a difference.’

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, ‘It made a difference to that one.’

One old dust-collecting book can make a difference to someone. Consider taking the time to give away what you aren’t using to help someone who could be changed … even for eternity!


  1. GOD continue to bless you. Thanks for your service!!

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