My friend Mary and I have a shared hobby. We both love to collect sea glass. For those of you who are unfamiliar with sea glass, it is pieces of broken bottles and glass that have been rubbed smooth by the surf and sand. Blue sea glass is especially rare. By walking up and down a stretch of beach and paying close attention to the bits of shells and flotsam, sometimes a beach comber is rewarded with a pretty piece of glass.
I did not grow up near a beach, so I never knew how much I loved the ocean until I moved within a 90 minute drive of a coastline. However, Mary grew up in California. Recently she discovered a beach that is famous for it’s sea glass. For both of us, the beach is our happy place, our place to walk with Jesus. The beach has the power to renew a weary soul, and it is special to find a souvenir of sea glass.
As much as I like sea glass, I think God must look down on my foolish collecting of trash and shake his head in Fatherly bewilderment that I would find bits of broken glass to be treasures. When my sister was little she collected bits of moss and leaves in a dresser drawer. My parents weren’t thrilled with this, but they didn’t stop her. Her childish treasures were of great value to her though they just looked like dirt to the rest of us.
It’s probably the same with my sea glass. From his Heavenly city made of precious stones and pearls where people walk along on streets of gold, God looks down on Mary and me walking up and down a strip of sand searching for broken beer bottles and he just shakes his head and smiles. “Just wait until you see what I have for you up here in Heaven,” he’s probably thinking. Our little treasures really are trash.
This makes me think about our spiritual treasures. The things that we value and treasure- the way we conduct our lives here on Earth- may end up being nothing but a pile of hay and stubble once we get to Heaven and see what things have true eternal value. The endeavours and pursuits to which we have given our lives will all come under scrutiny. Everything will be tested by fire. What looked sparkly and pretty here on Earth might end up being worth nothing. It might just serve to feed the fire.
Only things done for God will last. Only pure motives will survive the scorching heat of the Refiner’s Fire. The Apostle Paul essentially said, “When I think about all the great things I have accomplished, I consider them nothing but trash compared with the immeasurable honor of knowing and serving God.” All our great accomplishments are nothing but a handful of sea glass compared to serving the Lord.