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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

TITLE: The Eye of the Beholder
By Sharlyn Guthrie
04/30/07


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“I can’t believe how many perfect white seashells I’ve found! Aren’t they beautiful?” I boasted, revealing my treasures.

“Oh yes, they are,” my companion replied, though she seemed slightly self-conscious as she displayed her own. “I guess I was looking for shells with more umm…character.”

Eyeing her collection of irregular shapes and unusual colors, a realization swept over me like the tide that swept out, depositing a new sampling of shells at my feet. My search for perfection had caused me to overlook storm-battered and time-worn shells, unique and varied in their beauty.

This sudden realization of my preference for uniformity expanded far beyond seashells. I became painfully aware of my attraction to people who appear successful, and also of my tendency to avoid those with sordid pasts, unusual family situations, and those who look and dress differently than myself.

Jesus, on the other hand, gathered to Himself adulteresses, tax-collectors, lepers, and Samaritans, seeing beyond their rough edges to the beauty inside. He had little use for those with whitewashed exteriors, masking their imperfections with pride and pretense.

Broken people, like weathered seashells, are beautiful demonstrations of God’s grace.

With my heart and eyes open to increased possibilities I scanned the beach again, this time discovering some true gems. One of my favorites was a spiral-shaped core of what was once a much larger shell. Worn smooth and riddled with holes, only the rarely seen interior of a conch remained.

That shell reminds me that “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7b NASV)

Lord, give me eyes to see others as you see them. Remove from me all pretence and pride. Help me to live a life of transparency so that others will see only a battered shell with heart intact, a testimony of Your grace.


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This article has been read 1156 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Terry R A Eissfeldt 05/03/07
What a great message and excellantly conveyed. Thank you for sharing
Sheri Gordon05/07/07
Ooh, this is good. What a great analogy. So thought-provoking. And written very well. Wonderful devotional.
Jan Ackerson 05/07/07
There's a whole lesson just in that conch interior--thanks for sharing that, and the rest of this meaningful devotional.
Jacquelyn Horne05/08/07
What a wonderful encouraging piece. We could all take a lesson from this.
Joanne Sher 05/09/07
Excellent tie-in. I needed this today. Wonderfully written.
Mo 05/09/07
I really liked the ending.
Rita Garcia05/09/07
Beautiful analogy, and great message with a perfect ending!
Marilyn Schnepp 06/30/07
Thanks for the eyeopening and tearfully beautiful read! On God's Day of Rest, I browze through this "Topical Category of Devotionals and Inspirational challenges" for something to read that will soothe and enlighten my heart and soul - and I found this gem! Unlike your shells, however, (with their imperfections) I found this perfect! Something that made my Day, Gave me a Blessing and a new and wonderful Insight into "How To Be More Like Jesus", by not always looking for perfection on the outside...a truly, wonderful message! Thanks so much!
David Butler 07/10/07
Catching up on entries I haven't had a chance to look at yet. A real gem, this one.
I especially liked your comment:
"Broken people, like weathered seashells, are beautiful demonstrations of God’s grace."
God has an amazing way of demonstrating redemption in His creation. You captured that well with this piece.