By Gary Amirault
Clay Balls (author unknown)
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 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 just threw it away.
It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, 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 it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person by God.
There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.
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. (end of story.)
Jesus came in a meek and lowly form so it shouldn't surprise us that most of His treasures are hidden in obscurity, out of sight to the proud. " God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6)
Man's Marks of Glory
Through being brain-washed by the systems of this world that are set as enemies to the kingdom of God, we are seduced to look for clay vessels that have recognizable marks on them — marks that easily identify them as experts in areas of life in which we seek advice — experts in health care, finances, beauty, wisdom, defense, how to be more popular, etc. There are certain professions, races, ethnic groups, parties, organizations, positions, etc. that we have been programmed to believe that if we can connected with them somehow, if we can rub shoulders with this in some way, if we learn their system that some of that glory will rub off on us. Of course there is usually a cost attached. And ultimately, their glory turns out to be but fool's gold. But then we've been suckers for that lie ever since the first time it was spoken in the garden.
I have found in my Christian walk that those who have been most helpful to me have been those who I would not have expected to be so — they didn't fit into the mold of what the "world system" considered good sources for information about how to gain more wealth, wisdom and popularity. My wife and I have a ministry that requires finances to run it. Most of the finances that have kept us going these many years have come from people who are not wealthy. As a matter of fact, we have received very little from very wealthy individuals. Statistics show that the lower income population gives a much larger portion of their income than do the wealthy. One would think that since the wealthy have much more disposable income than the poor that their giving percentage would be much higher than those in the low income bracket -- but that is not normally the case. (Jesus' ministry was supported by the women in King Herod's court, not King Herod himself.)
God seems to hide His spiritual gifts in unattractive bodies (from Hollywood 's standards). I have been most blessed spiritually from stinky hitch-hikers I picked up on roadsides. From the outside they looked like vagabonds, the scum of the earth -- dangerous. And some may be. But most of the time, after speaking with them, I found many of them to be very humble, fearless saints going about God's business all around the country without a dime in their pockets. They were full of the provisions of God, spiritually lacking nothing. They were a great blessing to me. I know they wouldn't trade places with the richest, most famous or most powerful people on earth. They had the peace that passes understanding, the unspeakable joy and the love that never fails in their hearts. The glitter of fortune and fame holds no place in their hearts. They are friends of the King of Glory.
The Lie of Lack
This world is under a big lie that there are not enough resources to go around — that only the strong will survive and that they have a right to take more than their share through force and deceit. Darwin 's theory of evolution, that the strongest in a species survive, has added fuel to the belief that those who are strongest or more cunning SHOULD be on top — that those who are physically or intellectually inferior should go by the wayside. Some societies in the past (and in the present) have actually instituted programs to get rid of the "inferior" in their society. While Christ's teachings still hold a place in the hearts of millions of Americans, the teaching of the survival of the fittest has permeated much of the American mindset, and in my opinion, to its detriment.
Moral relativism has captured most of those who wield great power in America . To them, it is not wrong to deceive those less intelligent and manipulate or forcefully take their share. But this kind of leadership will always bring destruction, not peace. This kind of mind is never secure. They never have enough. And that is why there is not enough! If everyone was under God's authority and obeyed it, there would be no lack of anything. This world has in it all that is necessary for everyone to live comfortably. But those full of worldly wisdom, locked up in fear and greed -- kill, steal, lie, manipulate and destroy others through clever schemes often of international proportions to get what does not rightfully belong to them. They create wars and disturbances in economic systems which ultimately attract more wealth to themselves. And where does this wealth come from? Usually the poor, but now they are even shrinking the middle income class. Of course they do this quite legally. Since they control the legislative, judicial, executive and military branches of government, they can invent and pass codes, laws and moral values that justify their evil ways. Should some of their cohorts accidentally get caught by the legal system, through high-priced lawyers, they rarely go to jail and within a few years some president will come along and pardon them. They even form, with their billions of dollars, denominations of Christianity whose gospel is watered down enough to conform to their corrupt standards and devious ways. In their scheme, a poor man who robs a bank with a gun deserves long term imprisonment, but a banker, investment broker or some other kind of capitalist who steals millions by robbing the poor through carefully devised schemes is considered someone to emulate -- to hold in high esteem.
The Kingdom of Heaven is Hidden
The kingdom of heaven is hidden in plain old clay balls. Don't be fooled by those covered with glitz, shiny tinsel that melts which the heat is applied. Look for those who do not try to promote themselves using the wisdom of this world. Look for those who are led by His Spirit. Look for those who seek the glory which is from above, not below.
"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'" (1 Cor. 1:26-31)
When we see others with the eyes of Jesus (who is supposed to live inside of us, right?), then even our enemies take on a brand new look. After Jacob had his wrestling match with someone in the middle of the night at Peniel (face of God), he saw his life-long enemy, Esau, and perfectly humbled himself before him by bowing seven times. Then, in perfect humility, Jacob, the former conniver who had been humbled by God and was then named Israel (prince with El or ruled by El) said to Esau, "I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me." (Gen. 33:10) (If the state of Israel and those who support her would but learn this lesson, Israel would be at peace instantly.) Oh, if we would but humble ourselves, be delivered from fear, pride, and unbelief — from the curse of believing we lack anything -- what wondrous things we would behold all around us! I believe the very kingdom of heaven would appear right before our eyes even as Elisha saw. (2 Kings 6:17)
In the book of John, some Greeks desired to "see Jesus." (John 12:21) The next time you meet someone, whether friend, stranger or enemy, ask Jesus (who lives inside of you if you are a Christian), "Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see You in that person." He just might appear and bring all that He is and has and give you exactly what you need at that moment. Or you might see into that person's heart and see a need God wants you to fulfill in that clay ball. Remember, if you've given a cold cup of water to a little one, you've done it unto Jesus.
It is possible to look past the sins, hurts and pains of the worst of sinners; it is possible to look past the deceit, lying and corruption of those who presently manipulate and rob the poor lawfully but deceitfully — it is possible to see past all that and focus on the finished work of the cross for each and every human being that ever walked this planet — and to see the finished work of the cross and from it, provide a need for that lost soul that Jesus died for. The love of Christ in a plain old ball of clay can reach up to the highest in society and down to the lowest and bring forth the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. They have eyes to see true glory — the glory which Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, seeks to bestow upon humanity, even as Adam, the first man, the first clay ball was clothed with God's glory before he exchanged it for the covering(glory) of beasts.
" My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." (John 17:20-24)
May more of the world see the glory God has chosen to hide in plain clay balls. Amen