Treasure in Jars of Clay

Is there a time when you have felt completely inadequate for a task you were called to do?

I have. As I look back at times in my life when I have taken on a new role or new responsibilities, a sense of inadequacy has often overwhelmed me.

After all, I want to do a flawless job. I want to be the perfect team member. I want to get everything right.

And yet, I have a nagging dread of failure. Fear of letting people down. Of getting things wrong. Wondering if I will be “good enough”.

One time I expressed these feelings to a friend. His response was simple:

“You are inadequate”.

Nice. Thanks so much.

Then he reminded me of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4 –

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (v7).

I have been reflecting on this verse again during the last few days. What a great reminder this is to all of us that:

  • We are fragile. So often we can feel hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, as Paul describes in verses 8-9. We sometimes think of Paul as a “super-Christian”. After all, he endured shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, persecution, snakes, and sicknesses. Yet Paul pictures himself as like a simple, frail jar of clay.
  • We are certainly not perfect, either. Clay jars are the cheapest, commonest vessels used to hold water. Jars of clay are not flawless, and definitely not beautiful!

Yet – and this is amazing…

  • We carry a wonderful treasure of great value. This treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the glory of God to the world. It is an amazing, beautiful treasure that is incomparable to anything else.  And we have the privilege of sharing the riches of this treasure wherever we go.
  • This treasure – God’s surpassing power – transforms us. Because we have God’s power in us, our lives can bring profound glory to Him. We can walk in power, courage, and strength. We are not crushed, in despair, abandoned, or destroyed (verses 8-9).

I don’t have what it takes. Nor do you. But God does. He displays His power through simple, weak, fragile, imperfect people like me and you. He lives in each of us who declare that He is Lord. He is enough. He is our adequacy.

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