Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Stand Among Us"1 (Lyrics)
One day in November, 2007, our team of staff and teenaged students arrived early at a tiny, ramshackle building in downtown St. John's on the Caribbean island of Antigua. Our mission on this trip was to present the gospel to the elementary schools, and to leave a printed curriculum that the teachers could use as a follow-up. We targeted two or three bare-bones schools each day, but this small school seemed the most deprived of all.
As we huddled together in the small, fenced-in schoolyard waiting to be invited in, I happened to glance down at the ground. The imprint of a shell in a white rock lay imbedded in the black dirt. "It's a fossil!" I called out excitedly. One of our boys came rushing over to have a look, and helped me pry it out of the hard-packed ground. The principal of the little school gave us permission to keep it. Why did no one in this school care that there was a fossil in a rock on their playground? I wondered. Surely, they would want to dig it up and keep it. To me it was a treasure, a real fossilized shell, but the local students had just overlooked it.
How often we overlook something that is valuable, by not recognizing its worth. Something similar happened to Jacob when he was selecting a wife.
Genesis 29:16-18 – Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah's eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, "I'll work for you for seven years if you'll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife." (NLT)
Jacob overlooked Leah because she had weak or dull eyes. He didn't know that God had great plans for Leah, who would become part of the lineage of Jesus through her son, Judah. Leah was the real treasure, used by God in an unexpected way to accomplish His purposes through her.
John 7:24 – Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly. (NLT)
The principal of our school in Canada shared how, with the working mother's permission, he would go right into the home of an unmotivated teenaged boy to haul him out of bed, as he tended to miss so much school. At the time of our mission trip, however, this student was a favourite, full of godly character, and was even labelled "team mascot" by one of the teams. The principal was able to discern that the student had real potential, a hidden treasure, and by persistence, dug him out of the dirt, so to speak.
Let's not be quick to judge people by their outward appearance, but in getting to know them, discover the real treasures that they are.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You look beneath the surface to see our worth. Help us not to judge others hastily, but to see the potential and worth in each person You put in our path. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Great devotion with great analogy. Always enjoy your writing. Blessings to your writing ministry.
Amen and amen, Alice. Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today. Blessings.
Thank you for your devotional and the reminder to discern what needs to be encouraged and discovered. It is so easy to judge on the surface and not look for truth and value. Blessings.
Alice, thanks for reminding me to not be so quick to judge, paying less attention to the seemingly less interesting or attractive people. In retrospect I’ve experienced God’s gifts to me in learning what gems are often not on the surface but await to be discovered over time.
Greetings Alice. I really enjoyed your devotional this morning and how you spotted a fossil treasure. Yes, we can find real treasures in people too and so important that we don’t rush to a wrong decision about someone. We sure need be thankful that our loving Lord is patient with us and ready to forgive our wrong judgements. Blessings for these special writings you prepare.
Your devotional is a good reminder to me. We have fossils everywhere on the ranch. A couple of years ago I read on Facebook about a young boy in Colorado who had been hurt while trying to free his little sister from a heretofore calm dog. He was badly hurt. His aunt said he loved rocks; so, I busied myself looking for rocks and fossils, boxed them up, and sent them to him. Like the small boy in the Caribbean, I often overlook the treasures right around me, including the pleasures of friends, church, etc.
I really enjoyed this devotional because one of the things I struggle with daily is judgment. When you have this problem, seeing “treasure” is harder. You made very good points and for me the one about Leah was an eye opener. I get caught up feeling in my assumption of the unfairness of Laban to Jacob and did not think about that God had a bigger plan in play.
I recently watched a Ted talk on addiction which talked about a very different way of responding to this problem. The young man has travelled 30,000 miles to study different ways addiction is handled and how punishing people and giving them criminal records is not the best way to help anyone. He talks about the changes that they made in Portugal and the great results they are having because besides removing the stigma of drugs being illegal they did much more to give these people the chance to have employment, to be accepted by others to give them purpose and caring which was what they were looking for by using drugs. He said that we should be reaching out and loving people we know who made be addicted to something – could be alcohol, gambling, lotteries, shopping. They are most likely lonely and longing for something which they are filling with their addiction. He feels that social media and the pandemic has made the world an even lonelier place. As you can see this video, deeply affected me.
Thank you for helping me to find “treasure” each and every day. Blessings.
We all have role models in our life – they challenge us to be role models to present and future generations.
Thank you, Alice, first for your mission-minded heart, and for an oft-needed reminder about judging others.