Anonymous by email:
A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves, he found a canvas bag, full of small hardened balls of clay. Someone had rolled clay balls. Then baked them in the sun. They didn't look like much. Intrigued, the man took the bag out of the cave. As he strolled along the beach, he threw 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 ugly clay balls. It cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!
Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each ball contained a valuable jewel. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 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 small clay balls, with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have found tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewels. He had just thrown them into the sea!
It is like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see only the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't beautiful. So we discount it.
We see ourselves or that other person as less important than someone more beautiful, stylish, well known or wealthy. We have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.
There is a treasure in each and every one of us. We need to take the time to get to know and love others. We need to ask God to show us how He sees us and other people. Then, the clay begins to peel away. The brilliant gem begins to shine forth.
May we not 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.