The Clay Balls
Exploring caves along the seashore one day, a man discovered a collection of hardened clay balls. It was as if someone had rolled clay by hand into small balls and left them in the sun to bake. They didn’t look like much but they intrigued the man, so he collected them up and carried them out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach he playfully threw the 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 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 a considerable fortune just in the few clay balls he had left.
Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe thirty or forty clay balls with their hidden gems into the ocean waves. Instead of the half dozen jewels he had found, he might have taken home five or six times that number and become a millionaire. Why hadn’t he thought to look inside?
This story is an analogy for our attitude to other people. We look at someone, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount the whole being. We see that person as less important than someone more charming or well-connected or wealthy. We haven’t taken the time to find the treasure hidden within and as a result we treat them too casually.
There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know other people, and if we ask God to show us that person the way he sees them, then the clay begins to peel away, the brilliant gem begins to shine forth, and we gain a treasure in human friendship.
So let’s not put ourselves in the situation of the man who found that he had thrown away a fortune because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our lives as God sees them.