Object Lessons

Sacrifice for God

Objects: The Oyster

Besides being good as a food, the oyster sacrifices himself for the world's adornment, and as such, I suppose, he is one of the most valuable water products. Because he is so soft of body he is provided with an armored house which he can close securely and lock when his enemies endanger his life. However, the starfish and several others of his enemies are even then able to open his shell or drill through it for their lunch.

If all the oysters lived they would in five generations make a shell pile twice as large as the earth—but most oysters die in infancy.

Just as it is in human life the highest successes come with considerable hardship and sacrifice. When an oyster gets a grain of sand inside its shell it is like getting one in your eye. It is very irritating and immediately he tries to stop the hurt, not the way you would by taking it out, but he manufactures what is known as mother of pearl, a gluey substance, with which he has already lined his shell, and so covers that grain of sand. That is one of God's ways of relieving the hurt but incidentally it becomes the pearl which may be worth one thousand dollars or not worth one cent.

I wonder if you are using God's gifts—all your talents—not just for your own good but for God, to help Him make a better world and to beautify it with character.

Objects: Sheep

I think the most popular animal in all history is the sheep. Of course you would have to know sheep and tend them before you would understand it. Let us think a few minutes about sheep and see what they can teach us.

When Moses heard God speak directly to him where was he and what was he doing? When David heard God talking to him and directing his future where was he and what was he doing? Also when Joseph thought most about God he was out in the fields tending sheep.

When Jesus drew an illustration or a parable from the animal world was it not the sheep He spoke of more than any other? And today we know David best by his Shepherd Psalm and Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

A sheep is so dependent—except the male by which I have been knocked down so often that I used to just fall down, before I was hit, in self-defense. A sheep is about the most lovable creature I know; she will follow you all around and tease you to pet her. And she is a wonderful mother. She will protect her little lambs at the risk of her own life. She will hide her young when danger looms and stand herself out in the open so as to decoy the wolf or dog from the lamb—then she will run (her only defense) and usually she is killed, but her lamb is saved.

No wonder Jesus loved sheep. He came to the world, not to save Himself but to help others to live—and in doing so He Himself was killed, wasn't He?

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