I remember reading a story once about a man
who was exploring some caves by the seashore.
In one of the caves he found a canvas bag
with a bunch of hardened clay balls.
It was like someone had rolled up some clay
and left them out in the sun to bake.
They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man
so he took the bag out of the cave with him.
As he strolled along the beach, to pass the time,
he would throw the clay balls one at a time
out into the ocean as far as he could throw.
He thought little about it until he dropped
one of the balls and it cracked open on a rock.
Inside was a beautiful, precious stone.
Excited, the man started breaking open
the remaining clay balls.
Each contained a similar treasure.
He found thousands of dollars worth
of jewels in the 20 or so 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 clay balls
with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves.
Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure,
he could have had tens of thousands,
but he just threw it all away.
You know sometimes, it's like that with people.
We look at someone, maybe even ourselves,
and we see the external clay vessel.
It doesn't look like much from the outside.
It isn't always beautiful or sparkling
so we discount it;
we see that person as less important than
someone more beautiful or stylish
or well known or wealthy.
But we have not taken the time to find
the treasure hidden inside that person.
There is a treasure hidden in every one of us.
We are wonderfully made.
Not just our physical bodies, our spiritual selves,
which are sometimes hidden from others
by the "earthen vessel."
But if you take the time to get to know that person,
and if you ask the Spirit to show you that person
the way He sees them,
then the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand,
nor the kindly smile,
nor the joy of companionship;
it is the spiritual inspiration that comes
to one when he discovers that someone else
believes in him and is willing to trust
him with friendship.