Saturday, February 09, 2013

Treasure in earthy containers

clay jar - 2 Corinthians 4:7
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

TO CHEW ON: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

Some months ago a pastor at my church, when speaking on this passage, related an old custom. Apparently it was common in Bible times to hide valuables—jewelry and money—in clay jars to keep them safe from thieves. Of course, if the neck of the jar was small, the treasures were also then in safekeeping from their owners. The owner would have to break the jar to retrieve his or her valuables.

This homey illustration fits on several levels with Paul's statement here. If we are indeed the vessels that hold the precious treasure of the "life of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:11):
  • Such glory is well camouflaged in our earthy holders, with their common and deteriorating exteriors.
  • It is often when we are broken that the glory of the treasure is seen most startlingly. Who of us hasn't marveled at the grace of God that shines through saints—old and young—when a life is fully surrendered (even the bad bits) to God?

Dear God, please help me to be a good treasure-holder. But may it not take breaking to let Your glory shine in and through me. Amen.

MORE: Grace habits

"We have to form habits to express what God's grace has done in us. It is not a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved in order to manifest the life of the Son of God in our mortal flesh, and it is the disagreeable things which make us exhibit whether or not we are manifesting His life. Do I manifest the essential sweetness of the Son of God, or the essential irritation of 'myself' apart from Him? - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, May 14 reading (emphasis added).
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