Jul 11 2010

Lessons in Clay Balls

rattlesnake-249“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11

A friend of mine recently sent me an e-mail that contained the following story:

A man was exploring caves by the Seashore.  In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls.  It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.   They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him.  As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.   He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock.  Inside was a beautiful, precious stone! 

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls.  Each contained a similar treasure.  He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.    Then it struck him.  He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves.  Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!  

 In the original e-mail the message went on to say that this is something we do from time to time with people.  If someone is unappealing to us we discount them and do not give them the time of the day.  We fail to see the treasure within them.  If, however, we take the time to get to know them we may very well discover there is a jewel inside of them.

 I have no doubt that this happens with people.  I also believe, however, that it happens in the world of nature as well.  There are many things we see in Creation that do not appeal to us.  As a result we may dismiss their importance and not take the time to discover their real beauty or God’s purpose in creating them.   

 The original e-mail concluded by saying, “May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.”  I would add the same petition to the world of nature.  God forbid that we come to the end of our lives and discover that we sat idly by while genuine treasures were destroyed and eliminated from existence.  Yes, may we come to see all things in Creation as God sees them!


(The rattlesnake pictured above is one example of a creature many hate.  It too, however, serves a very useful purpose in God’s Creation.)