Sandy Treasures from St. Pete's Beach
Sandy Treasures from St. Pete’s Beach

After Tropical Storm Andrea passed Florida, I walked along St. Pete Beach on the Gulf Coast, searching for the larger shells that often wash ashore after such torments stir up the sea bottom.  Among my trophies was a large, black, triangular shell hosting barnacles, and some kind of curly-Q flora that is probably a variety of sea weed.

But my eyes also drifted to the bright objects buried in the sand.  Too often these items were trash – bottle caps, straws, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, beer bottles, — signs of worldly “pleasures,” not the ”treasures” of the sea.

In life I also find my eyes drawn to the bright and shiny things of this world.  Manicured models in television commercials sexily hawk flashy cars, diamond jewelry, luxury furnishings, and fashionable clothing (not that MY body fits in THAT! – but that’s a different story).

How often do we rush past the visual delights that God places in our surroundings, because we are attracted to the busyness and distractions in our lives?  As we drift into temptations, we become littered with garbage that defiles us and builds barriers to keep us away from God.

I am so glad that Jesus actively seeks us and rescues us from the trash heap.  He does not expect us to clean ourselves up; He knows we can’t.  Instead, Christ brings a big dumpster to remove the smelly stuff Himself and tears down the walls that block us from His fellowship.

And then He redeems us.  Our weaknesses and failures become His treasures when we allow Him to use us in His work.  Couples with failing marriages, brought back from the brink of divorce, go on to mentor others who similarly struggle.  Ex-junkies offer encouragement and support to others on the road to recovery.

God uses our fears and failures to bring glory to Himself.  After our storms, He combs the beaches of our lives searching for the flotsam and jetsam to re-purpose for His own projects.

The Apostle Paul wrote that God “chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”  1 Corinthians 1:27

Well, I certainly have proved myself to be in those categories all too often.  So while I am letting God use me in His own way, I think I’ll salvage some of that trash and see what kind of treasure I can make with it.  After all, if God can use me . . . .

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