Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Jars of Clay

One year when I was in college my family and I took a trip to Washington D.C.  As a history major and patriotic American I had an amazing time.  We went and saw the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam, World War II and Korean War Memorials and so many other amazing sites.  We watched the changing of the guard at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and stood in silence at the eternal flame at J.F.K.'s burial site in Arlington National Cemetery.

Another thing my family did was visit one of the Smithsonian Museums.  The museum was full of amazing artifacts and beautiful things.  One of the great treasures of the Smithsonian is the Hope Diamond.  It is a 45.52 carat, grayish-blue diamond worth $200-$250 million.  It is displayed in a 3-inch thick bullet-proof glass case with constant surveillance on it to keep it from being stolen.  This treasure of the Smithsonian is guarded the max and displayed to showcase its unsurpassed beauty to everyone.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but no in despair; persecuted, but no abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body."  2 Corinthians 4:7-11

The Hope Diamond is one of the world's great treasures; but the hope that is found in the glory of the Gospel is a far greater treasure to be sure.  The Hope Diamond is protected as well as humanly possible and displayed in a beautiful way; the Hope of the glory of the Gospel is displayed in jars of clay... fragile human bodies.

God in His wisdom and grace has decided to put the universe's greatest treasure in you and I.  He has put the light of His glory in our hearts as 2 Corinthians 4:6 says.  I don't know about you, but I don't feel like I display this treasure as gloriously as that case that holds the Hope Diamond.  But we are called to let the light of this treasure shine for all to see.

God in His wisdom and grace has decided to put His great treasure in our frail and weak bodies.  Our bodies are weak and under pressure from all sides both literally and figuratively.  But God preserves us.  We are struck down, but not destroyed.  God does this, I believe, not as much for our sakes as He does for the sake of the treasure in us.  God the Father loves Jesus so much that He desires to protect this glory while in lives in us.  And God loves you and wants to do you, the jar of clay, good.

When Paul calls us jars of clay it is to make a feel humble and honored.  We are humble because we know we are not vessels deserving of such a precious content.  We are honored because we are allowed to house this amazing treasure.  We aren't better because we house such a glorious treasure; rather, we are privileged to have such a calling.  Remember the glory of the old covenant was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, but the glory of the new covenant is in you!

Remember that you are a jar of clay that doesn't deserve to hold God's great treasure.  Remember that God will preserve you for the sake of the treasure in you.  And remember the great privilege you have, the privilege of housing "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."  Display your treasure to the world today.  

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