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
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“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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