"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)
In the ancient world, "jars of clay" was a common metaphor for human weakness. It's easy to see why. They are made from the earth and there is nothing special about them. Clay pots are very breakable and expendable. I've read this verse what seems like a million times, but I found fresh encouragement in it today. Maybe it's because I feel very much akin to these clay pots lately. I feel messy, chipped and scratched up. I'm afraid that one more ounce of pressure will make me shatter in a thousand pieces. I know I'm weak. I know I'm ordinary. I'm just like all the other pots - flawed and imperfect and I feel it so acutely. That's why I love this verse so much today. The treasure of the gospel is contained by people marked by weakness, frailty and a kind of living death. The world sees weakness as a bad thing. But for us as Christians it only makes room for more of the power of God.
The Messages puts it so poignantly - "We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us."
Paradoxically, our weakness serves to enhance the message we bring, not detract from it. We are just ordinary clay pots, yes, but there is a vast treasure inside of us. The pot has nothing to do with the miracle of life inside it. The pot is just a vessel. We are just a vessels, ordinary on the outside, but rich on the inside. Maybe you're feeling pretty breakable like me today. Maybe you feel like a mess too. The good news is that it doesn't matter. Our frailty, our mess and our ordinary lives are just a catalyst for God to show Himself strong in us. His power is perfected in weakness. The weaker we are, the more the world will know that what holds us together is not of us, but of God. This is all from Him and for Him.
It's crazy that the Sprit of God wants to house Himself in this dirty little jar of clay. I'm letting go of trying to cover up my weakness today. I'm giving up trying to put myself together. I'm broken and I know it. Only God is strong in me. He alone holds this little broken pot together. The cracks and broken pieces in my exterior are allowing the light of Christ shine through. I'm ordinary on the outside, but hold something extraordinary inside. My strength is utter weakness and my victory is to lose. My triumph is when I'm pressed down, bruised, bent and broken. So let the pressure come. Let it break me, so that all the world will know that the only good in me is Jesus, only Jesus.
Friends, there is a vast treasure in our ordinary and broken jars of clay. The weaker we are, the better. I hope that encourages you today.