My message today is a challenge for us to make 2021 a year in which we live greater than we ever have lived before.

We are at the end of what has been one of the most challenging years I can remember.  At the same time we are at the beginning of what I hope to be a year where we meet the new challenges in an overcoming way.  In order to do this, a lot will depend on our mind and our resolve.

In Titus 1:15, scripture encourages our resolve in this way: “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”

Do you know why oysters have no hands, arms or legs?  Over the course of the life of any oyster it likely a small irritant of some sort will become stuck deep in the soft tissue of their stomachs.  Once there the oyster has no way to get rid of the irritant since it has no hands, arms or legs.  Because it cannot remove the irritant, the challenge for the oyster is to learn to live with it.  So the oyster begins to secrete a material called nacre to surround the irritant and to make it tolerable.  Over many years the oyster does this – until – it produces what we know and value as a pearl.  Yes, pearls are the result of the hard work of the oyster to learn to deal with something that was otherwise an irritant to their lives.  The oyster responds to the challenge of the irritant in an overcoming way.

The year of 2020 has been a year of challenges for us in ways we could not have foreseen.  But 2020 is behind us now and 2021 is ahead.  How the oyster produces the pearl can help us develop healthier mindsets around how we see the world.  To those of us who are pure in our hearts and minds, it will be easy for us to see the purity hidden even in the most challenging and most difficult things.  This sense of purity is what we use to overcome the challenges that are before us.  The sense of purity is our nacre.  When we are faced with a difficult situation or an irritating situation, we go to work looking for the hidden purity there that we may be able to produce a pearl.

It is easy for us to be unbelieving and to have our minds and consciousness defiled with seeing all the wrongs and hurts and pains that are around us.  The least of us and the greatest of us can do that.  But it takes someone whose heart is to see as God sees; to see how God sees and to see what God sees to be able to take what may be an irritant to someone else and make that a pearl in our lives.  If God can use the dust of the ground to create man; and if Jesus can use dirt and spit to restore a man’s sight; surely we can use the blessing of being pure of heart to bring out the purity in the things that may challenge us to the point of falling.

So let me challenge you in 2021: make this a year in which you allow the Lord to purify your heart so that you can learn to see the purity hidden in the things that are your challenge. And if it is His will, you may be able to be like the oyster, producing pearls of life from things that otherwise would have been only irritants.  Be blessed in your 2021 in ways that you cannot imagine.