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OYSTERS…are dime a dozen in the ocean, but at seafood restaurants, they’ll cost you a dollar apiece or more. They are a strange part of creation. Oyster is the common name for a number of different families of salt-water bivalve mollusks that live in marine or brackish habitats. In some species the valves are highly calcified, and many are somewhat irregular in shape. Windowpane oysters are harvested for their translucent shells, which are used to make various kinds of decorative art objects. Some take as long as 5 to 7 years to grow to one inch. On the other hand, warm water oysters from the Gulf of Mexico can reach 4″ in less than nine months.
Some varieties of oysters are commonly consumed by humans, cooked or raw, and are regarded as a delicacy. I was 25 years old before a friend taught me how to eat and enjoy them. I love them now, but I have to admit it takes a lot of red sauce, horseradish and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Folklore says oysters should only be eaten in months that have an ‘R’ in their name. This started in the days when oysters were shipped without adequate refrigeration and could spoil. But today, all that has changed and we can enjoy oysters 12 months a year. According to published reports, the record for shucking oysters is held by a Canadian team of 10, who shucked 8,840 oysters in one hour. The world record for eating oysters is 37 dozen in 5 minutes held by Sanya Thomas.
Today, I was at a seafood restaurant for lunch and noticed all the signs around the walls featuring oysters. My thoughts turned to their ability to produce pearls. ‘How they do dat?’ Well, the simple answer is when foreign material becomes trapped inside the shell, the oyster responds to the irritation by producing nacre, a combination of calcium and protein. The nacre coats the foreign material and over long periods of time produces a pearl. Do you think our Creator had this in mind from the beginning? We all know you ladies love your pearls. Some are very valuable. Nothing like that little black dress and a string of pearls.
My mind drifted to us as humans and God’s sanctification process as I thought about oysters. As fallen but redeemed believers, he uses the crucible of trials (foreign material) to fashion us and mold us into the image of Christ. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jas. 1:2-4). Do you think maybe that oyster is steadfast in producing that valuable pearl?
Trials are simply a part of a fallen world, corrupted by sin, yours and mine. But a Sovereign God can take these trials and work them for your ultimate good and his glory. But as the Spirit points out in the book of James, steadfastness in light of the issues you face is your role. It must be done in faith, believing that they are producing something greater in you. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life (maybe with pearls in it), which God has promised to those who love him” (vs. 1:12).
Discipline is involved when we seek to be steadfast. God’s discipline can produce a ‘pearl’ in you. It’s called righteousness. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).
So, the oyster has a lesson for us when bad stuff comes into our lives. God canturn bad stuff into something brilliant and valuable if we are steadfast and faithful. The oyster is patient and steadfast; can we do anything less? Anyway, who wants to be shown up by an oyster?
Copyright 2017
Bill C. Dotson
Scriptures taken from the ESV
Some facts on oysters taken from Wikipedia.org

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