Picking up seashells is a delightful hobby for those who live near the beach. However, most of the time, beautiful shells cannot be discovered just lying on the beach. A lot of work has to be done before the finished project is ready for display. I recently discovered that if you are serious about shelling you need to find them in a few feet of water. I used my kayak to approach the shallows of an island and began to wade in the water looking down for the shells. I bent over and retrieved a shell that was encrusted with barnacles and algae. Before I threw it back my friend told me to save it and we will work on it. Later, I discovered that those ugly shells needed to be scraped, bleached, and polished. I could not believe the finished project. They were a work of polished beauty.
The story of a child of God is similar. God picks us up from the shallows of life’s sea and begins a good work in us. Phil. 1:6 says: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”. When our Lord saves us, He then begins the sanctifying work of making us like Christ. Eph. 5:25-27 describes the process this way: “…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”. The beauty only comes out with God’s working in our lives. He scrapes away the ugliness of sin, and washes us with His forgiveness and grace. He uses the sharp tool of His Word and the sandpaper of trials. He polishes us with the oil of His Holy Spirit to make us like Jesus.
Collecting shells is an interesting hobby. But God collects people. Let’s allow Him to accomplish His good work in us as we become trophies of grace.