Just a Lump of Ore
A silver smith takes a lump of ore from the raw earth. Ore is raw and ugly but in it the silver smith sees beyond the ugliness. He sees beauty. He sees what the lump of ore can become.
The ore is just aggregates of lead and other minerals in a rock. But, the refiner knows that there is so much more to this rock than the human eye can see. He knows that inside this lump of ore there is silver—shining and beautiful reflecting the light. It just takes some work and some meticulous care to refine the ore into silver.
Years ago a country singer sang a song “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal. But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday”
I was a young child when I first heard this song. I didn’t know that diamonds came from coal. I was delighted. Our home was heated by a coal furnace and we had loads of coal in our stoker room. I thought we must be the richest people in town. We had a basement full of diamonds. I remember going in and getting the biggest piece of coal I could find. Carefully, I put it in my jewelry box, expecting one day to open the little drawer under the dancing ballerina and finding a huge diamond.
That piece of coal is still in my jewelry box in the same place I put it many years ago. It has gotten smaller over the years but it is still a piece of coal. What I know now that I did not know then is that a refinement has to take place. I learned of this process in a recent Bible study.
Amazingly resembling the process of sanctification God so carefully orchestrates in our lives. Like the silver smith does to refine ore into silver, there has to be a refinement. The comparison of the two processes is awesome. Only God could create such.
The first thing a silver smith does is to build a fire. He closely stokes the fire until it is at the exact right temperature. No too hot, but hot enough. Then he hammers the piece of ore into smaller pieces, chipping away the ugly minerals and lead. When the fire is hot enough he lays the pieces of ore into a crucible.
There are times in our lives when we go through testing circumstances. We are subjected to forces that test us and often these dark times make us change. It may be a severe trail or ordeal. We either come out of the fire refined and closer to God, or we come out worse than when we went in. It all depends upon Who we turn to while we are in the fire.
After the silver smith puts the ore into the crucible he stays with it constantly. As long as the metal is in the fire, he never leaves it. It would be ruined if he were not vigilant and present constantly.
He watches the fire as it softens the ore. The uncleanness of the minerals rises to the top and the refiner removes them. This is a process he continues to repeat over and over until the purity of the metal shines through. He continues to work closely with the fire, never too hot, always the right temperature. The metal releases all it’s impurities until he starts to see a muted reflection of himself in the metal.
This is a process that the skilled craftsman repeats until the silver is liquid and he can see a clear reflection of himself. The process of refinement is complete.
Without the fire, the ore would remain just a chunk of ore. But through the fire with the skilled careful craftsman constantly attending, the ore is refined into beautiful silver.
We are akin to the chunk of ore. In our journey with Christ we go through a process of sanctification, a process of refinement. During our lives we will have our “crucibles’. The good news is that God never leaves us. He is constantly there watching over us as He refines us into a likeness of His Son. He allows the fire but He does not allow it to get too hot. He allows trials that refine us. He allows circumstances through which we grow.
I don’t think the old chunk of coal in my jewelry box will ever be a diamond. I keep it to remind me of my process of sanctification.
God is my refiner, I will be silver someday.
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