Years ago, there was a kind village dentist who passed away. As the family was sorting through his belongings, they discovered several bags of old teeth, filled or capped with gold. The man had often paid his patients for their old teeth and then put them away in a box.
When someone has a tooth pulled, it is usually because the tooth is bad or rotten. And indeed, there was plenty of evidence for that. They looked awful and ugly. The family wasn’t sure why their father had bothered to keep these teeth. Then one family member suggested that the gold might be valuable. After making some contacts, they found a company to buy the gold. The teeth were broken up and the gold refined with high heat. After the gold was melted down and evaluated, the family received a payment of $4000 (a size-able amount in those days).
God has a way of seeing the value in each one of us. Yes, he sees the ugly rottenness that must be chipped away. Then he refines us to make us what he wants us to be. Through the work of Jesus, we are made new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) We become children of God with value and beauty. Restored in the image of God, gold as refined by fire.