Encouragement for Today
Kristy Tolley, Graduate of She Speaks Conference
1 Samuel 16:7, “… the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (NIV)
My 3-year-old daughter, Peyton, and I were strolling along the beach in search of shell treasures. It was December, and there didn’t seem to be much in the way of beautiful shells to be found. As we made our way down the steps to the beach, Peyton ran in excited anticipation to a large mound of broken shell pieces by the water’s edge. Carefully collecting a few, she scurried back to me clutching her treasures. “Look, Mommy! I found a shell!”
Opening her hands, I saw an array of broken shards – some large, others small, but none resembling the shells they once were.
Taking advantage of that “teaching moment” and wanting to educate my daughter in the business of proper shell collecting, I quickly corrected her. “No, honey, that’s just a broken piece.” I quickly explained that there might be other whole shells worthy of picking up, even showing her some examples I found. “Oh,” she replied matter-of-factly. And she continued happily filtering through the pile, picking out more broken shells and placing them gently in her bucket.
As I watched her, the Lord gently spoke to me through the actions of my beautiful little girl. That’s how I see you. When others would ignore those pieces, discard them and see no value in them, I seek them out, tenderly pick them up and place them in the palm of My hand.
Just as my daughter saw those broken shells as something beautiful and complete, my Father sees me.
The thought occurred to me: How many times have I discounted my own worth by dwelling on past mistakes? Sins from which I’d been forgiven seemed to rear their ugly heads often and remind me of my unworthiness.
Many times these thoughts would keep me from pursuing opportunities to minister to others. After all, how could I be an effective Christian with all that junk in my past? I’m not perfect!
Exactly. It took the image of that broken, imperfect shell for the Holy Spirit to help me see that I will never be perfect. But by the blood of Christ, praise God, I’m whole! Just as Scripture states, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV)
Whatever we have – be it a broken shell or a cracked pot – He can use it for His purpose and His Glory.
My Prayer for Today:
Thank you, Lord, for salvaging my broken pieces. Help me to see people and circumstances through Your eyes, not mine. Amen.
Seek out people who are often overlooked. Visit a nursing home or volunteer at a homeless shelter.
Are there people in your life who you’ve judged by their “outward appearance”?
Take your past mistakes to the Lord. Accept His forgiveness and thank Him for using you to minister to others.
What ways can you encourage yourself and your family to look at the heart of others and not their outward appearance?
Romans 3:22-24, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Isaiah 53:2-5, “...He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised and we esteemed Him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 2:10-11, “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
Dreams of a Woman, by Sharon Jaynes
You are Special, by Max Lucado
Originally published Tuesday, 02 August 2005.