Thursday, June 1, 2006

Jars of Clay

The message of the gospel is called a treasure in 2nd Corinthians, being described as “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” We received this precious treasure as a free gift from God when He “made His light shine in our hearts” (2nd Cor. 4:6) to help us comprehend the sufficient, once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus for the sin of the world.
What’s curious about this treasure is that, instead of the strongest and the most elaborate security system that we could imagine God coming up with, He actually chose containers that are very weak and fragile to keep this treasure! Of all places, the gospel treasure is kept in… unadorned clay jars. 2 Cor. 4:7 says “we have this treasure in jars of clay.” God’s treasure is in YOU and ME!

I don’t know about you, but I can certainly vouch for this weak clay jar thing! I know that in and of myself I’m fragile, I crack, I’m insecure and I can fall apart easily. If you can relate, keep reading. If you can’t relate, then you’ve probably reached some lofty spiritual plateau that I can never dream of reaching! I mean, is there really some grand army of former clay jars out there who through hard, meticulous work have turned themselves into amazing bulletproof, leakproof, strong and sturdy chests, fit for such a treasure? If so, “I’ll have what they’re having!” Hat’s off, eh. But let’s get back to reality. We’re clay jars.

So WHY would God, in His infinite wisdom, keep such a valuable treasure in containers that He knows are weak??? It’s not as if He doesn’t remember that He made us from the dust of the earth. When I think that God chose such weak vessels for the ministry of the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8), it just doesn’t seem to make much sense! That is, until I consider His intentions. After we’re told that this treasure is in jars of clay, 2 Cor. 4:7 goes on to tell us why: “To show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Do you ever feel like you’re weak or inadequate to live the Christian life or to do what God has called you to do? Then you’re in the right place for God to do some powerful things! Really now, is God counting on YOU to be strong, or is He perhaps waiting for you to stop being so strong and independent and to stop trying to prove yourself to Him so that He can show that the power to accomplish His purposes in your life and in the world is found in Him and Him alone? Acts 17:25 tells us that “He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”

As I thought about that one day I looked all around at creation, especially at some people such as myself, and I thought “God created all of this - easily. AS IF He is really dependent upon ME!” Before heading to the battlefield to defeat Goliath, David exclaimed how it would be done. He said, "The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (1 Sam 17:37). David didn’t face the giant in his own name, nor in the name of his five smooth stones or the sling he carried. “I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
As we go about the business of the Kingdom, facing giants, serving each other and walking in the “good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them,” I’m thankful that there is something far more powerful at work in us than the “human hands” of weak, cracked pots!

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