TREASURE IN CLAY POTS
Father God, I come to you now as your loving child to hear your wisdom and your will for me.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 4:7-12
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Pray, ‘My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.’1
It is a human disposition to boast. Apparently this was even more so in the classical world, as numerous ancient tablets and monuments testify. We see the same today in the art of the resume, in which applicants for jobs pump themselves up and compete for attention. Having read a few, it surprises me that people aren’t more ashamed than they are to boast of their alleged skills and achievements.
Clay pots are the delight of archaeologists because they are so common, found at any dig. Sometimes they actually contain valuables like hoards of silver coins. We see here how self-effacing Paul is. He is a clay pot: what is important is what it contains of God (v 7). Paul did not regard himself as a Christian celebrity, full of glamor and flashing teeth. Quite the opposite. He is forever ‘being given over to death for Jesus’ sake’ (v 11). He boasts of his weakness and fragility, ‘hard pressed on every side’ (v 8) and yet, deep down, sustained by a resilience and ability to endure – strengths that can only be attributed to God.
Those who are unable to see the glory of Christ that is found in the light of the gospel (v 4) might have reason to make much of themselves, but those who have seen the face of Jesus Christ have something better to live for. Along with John the Baptist, they say, ‘He must become greater; I must become less.’2 There is a quite legitimate self-care by which we maintain the health of body, soul, and spirit. Paul’s pressures and problems were inflicted upon him by others rather than by himself (though no doubt he could have done better). It is not without cost, however, that we follow Christ – and neither should it be. Yet cross leads to resurrection; death to life (v 10).
What did Jesus mean by saying, ‘In this world you will have trouble’?3
King Jesus, rule over my life. I bring all aspects of my life to you and lay them before your throne.
1 Ps 51:17 2 John 3:30 3 John 16:33
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