Refining, Shining, or Tarnishing

On this third Tuesday of normally the warmest month of the year, it is on my heart to reflect on the warmth, the heat and process of gold and silver refining.  I know it’s random, so please bear with me.

Each day I open my mail with a pretty silver letter opener, given to me years ago by a precious friend. It stays naturally polished, shiny from its daily use and the oil from my hands. Each day when I walk into my office building for work, I notice its naturally polished door handles, also shiny from frequent use.

Then I open my kitchen cabinet and see my ornate silver pitcher, tarnished to black from its sad lack of usage.

It seems this verse from Malachi 3:3 recently keeps surfacing in my life:

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.”

What does refining and purifying silver mean? I heard a story once of a ladies Bible study that asked the same question after reading that verse and wondered how it related to the character and nature of God.  One lady in the class offered to find out the process of refining silver and would report back to the group during the next Bible Study.

The lady called a silversmith and asked if she could watch him work. She made an appointment, not letting him know the reason for her curiosity of learning about the process of refining silver.

She watched the silversmith hold a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained to the lady that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are the hottest as to burn away all the impurities surfacing to the top. The lady then thought about God holding us in such a hot spot.

She asked the silversmith if he had to sit with the silver the whole time it was being refined. He answered that yes, not only did he sit there holding the silver, but also he kept his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire, scraping off the impurities–the dross– that surfaced. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The lady pondered his statement, then followed up with the inevitable question.

The lady asked, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

The silversmith smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy–when I see My image in it.”

What a sweet picture of how God takes such care of us.

I certainly am being warmed by the refiner’s fire in my life right now, having my impurities scraped away. So let’s say we eventually become “refined” this side of heaven, which I’m still not sure we do. What happens then?

I believe we have a choice. 1) We can choose to use our God-given gifts and talents daily and try to shine; or

2) We can remain shiny for a short time, displayed for the world to see, and after lack of usage we become tarnished until we are unrecognizable.

Which are you? Which do you want to be?

As we try to cool off in our August heat, may you feel the warm glow of the Refiner’s fire.  May you see His reflection in your shiny self. If you feel tarnished today, be encouraged. Polish yourself off and use your gifts and talents to make a difference to someone. You shine!

Reflect:

–What do you relate to more? Refining, shining or tarnishing?  Please comment below by going to “View Comments.”

-How are you being refined?

Renew:

–“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” –Psalm 12:6 NIV

–“He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” –Psalm 66:9, 10 NIV

–“Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith; remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.” –Proverbs 25:4, 5 NIV

Recharge:

–In what ways this week can you “polish” yourself more? Is it writing a note of encouragement to a friend?  Inviting your elderly neighbor over to your warm home for some comfort food?  Getting more involved in your Christ-centered church? Joining a Bible study? Please comment below by going to “View Comments.”

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  1. Cindy Fisher says:

    Hi Danya….Hope this finds you having a wonderful week. As I was reading your blog, it struck me that my bible study group that #1 I started #2 I lead the bible verses, the conversations, the prayer. That probably doesn’t seem remarkable to you, but I have never STARTED anything like that and I claim to my group of ladies that I am NOT a leader. Yet there I am leading them in all those things! I have hardly ever prayed out loud with anyone, yet there I am doing that and they say I am blessing them with my prayers. Yes, God is refining me because I am finally allowing Him to use me! Blessings to you, Cindy Fisher

    • Amy Hearting says:

      This is wonderful! Glad it’s going well!

    • Dear Cindy, I am so proud of what God is doing through you and Tom. You both bear much fruit for Jesus. You ARE a leader, friend. You ARE a leader.

    • Beautiful Cindy,
      Your testimony is so encouraging. You are truly an ambassador for Christ, Cindy. God loves your humble, willing, teachable spirit and total dependence on Him. It’s inspiring to see what a difference you are making in the faith journeys of your ladies’ group, your church, and countless other lives, including mine! Be encouraged. Love you!

  2. Mary Ellen Parks says:

    What a lovely story and analogy for how God “polishes” us. I love the relationship between using silver and reading my bible – daily use keeps it (and me shining). Thank you, Danya for this message.

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