Treasure in Clay Balls

This simple short story helps us to remember we are God's treasure in clay. Too often we act as though people are nothing more than clay balls.

2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

God's Treasure in Clay

A man was exploring 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 the clay balls 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, he would throw the balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. He thought little about it, until he dropped and it cracked open on a rock . Inside was a beautiful, precious stone - treasure in clay!

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 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 balls with their hidden treasure in the clay into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

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 in clay - hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

Christian Object Lesson: Treasure in Clay

2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

To use this as an object lesson, take several imitation gems from costume jewelry and wrap this treasure in clay and dry to harden. Make sure to use clay or a molding substance that will dry; many molding clays are made to resist drying.

Give each child a hardened ball of clay and ask them to describe what they are holding. Ask questions like - "Is it pretty?", "Do you think it's valuable?", etc. Write their answers on a board or large sheet of paper.

Share the short story above with them. Then ask each to break his or her ball open.

Using 1 Corinthians 4:7 begin talking about how God created us out of the dust of the ground. The Bible calls us clay vessels, yet God has created us in such special way to hold His treasure - His Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

Share the meaning behind the story and remind them that not only are each of them special, but we are to treat all people special no matter what they look like, because God has created each special.

More inspirational stories like "Treasure in Clay Balls"...

A few years ago, my second grade class read the following Christian book which is a mystery of a hidden treasure in clay.

It would be a great book to read with children and point out how special they are to God using the same thoughts behind the above short story.

4464X: The Treasure of Pelican Cove The Treasure of Pelican Cove
By Milly Howard / JourneyForth

Besides Granny and Hiram, a small dog named Blackie is the best friend Jimmy has at Land's End. Hiram tells a fascinating story about a pirate called Pegleg, and before long everyone is scrambling for hidden treasure. But then there's trouble. Blackie mysteriously disappears and Jimmy is determined to find him. He discovers that Blackie's trail crosses another treasure hunter's trail. What does the man want with Blackie? Will the trail lead to treasure or danger? Ages 7-9