Precious or Worthless?

“If you extract the precious from the worthless, you will be my spokesman” –God to the prophet Jeremiah (15:19), 500 B.C.

Through the mouth of Prospero in The Tempest, the Bard of Avon (yes, Shakespeare!) spoke of sea-changes–the transformation of the dead-at-sea into other materials and forms: Pearls, coral, food and homes for underwater creatures, gardens and kingdoms of the ocean.

Broken bottles and torn tree branches undergo sea-changes too. The washing, scrubbing, scraping, sanding, and rinsing of the tides eventually change everything they come into contact with–and sometimes produce articles much more valuable and unique.

Many people have made a hobby of combing the beaches for these smooth fragments of blue, green, and amber glass and odd shapes of salt-bleached silver wood. Other collectors have even made a business of crafting jewelry or decorative items from their finds. Trash to treasure, or beauty from ashes, as the prophet Isaiah put it.

Seaglass is a blog about transformation in the style of Romans 12:2. Rethinking and repurposing life. Changing the culture, the church, and the world. As someone has said, “Be the change you want to see.” So I’ll start with myself.

I want my life to make a difference. Don’t you? Sometimes that means stepping away from the status quo, breaking out of the routine, and seeing the world from another perspective. It means changing my thinking and doing life differently.

The long, narrow Republic of Chile, where I’ve been a servant of God for almost a lifetime, boasts vastly varied landscapes along its 4500 km of coastline. As I write this, I’m returning home to the capital after six days of relaxation and research in the southern Islands of Chiloe. Even though it rained nine-tenths of our time there, on our final day the sun burst forth in glory as it rarely does in Chiloe.

My husband and I stayed a couple of nights at a palafito, a house-on-stilts at the water’s edge, in the remote Pacific coastal hamlet of Cucao. Talk about rustic decor. The lampshades were woven reeds, some of the chairs were split logs, and the jacuzzi was a giant rain barrel! A spicy aroma of wood  and raw wool blankets pervaded the place and caressed the senses as soon as you entered. Driftwood sculptures adorned the tables and halls.

I need to allow God to work those kind of changes in me. I want to put the broken and ragged bits of trash littering the sands of my life into His mighty hands, and given His time and tides, I’m sure they’ll turn into amazing works of art–even masterpieces (Eph. 2:10).

What God does is beautiful and special if we can just see it. Let’s use our sea-eyes to distinguish the precious from the petty, the phony, the trendy, and the showy. And let’s keep our eyes open to the possibility of transforming paste jewels into pearls.

If I can learn to tell the worthless from the worthwhile, I’ll be able to sift through the rubbish around me and discover the nuggets of value that God wants me to keep and share. As His pen, that’s what I desire to do.


  1. In such a prosaic way you have said what every true Jesus follower wants. I love this. Thank you. I look forward to many more trash-to-treasure stories.

  2. I just wanted to add that we need more dialogue like this…from an interesting and truly Christian point of view. I encourage you to be brave and bold!

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