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 not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. NIV
I’m certain I’ve read these verses before, but, they’ve never struck me as they did this morning.
Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. And, Paul has real worries. His life is in danger, frequently; he gets thrown in jail, I’m pretty sure more than once; he has some sort of physical affliction that bothers him; and, above all he has a tremendous, burning mission to share the gospel with as many people as possible in the time that he has on this earth.
It’s that mission that makes the rest of what he’s going through bearable.
But, what I love about this is verse 7. I love the image of a treasure in a clay pot. My clay pot holds a treasure, too. God sent His son to die for me, and, the Holy Spirit lives within me.
Storing a treasure in a clay pot is not very sensible. Pots get dropped, they shatter, they are not water tight and, over time if you leave them outside in a place where the temperature drops below freezing, they will break down. Once, I picked up a clay pot on my front stoop, and only the top part came up. The bottom stayed on the ground and all of the dirt spilled out all over my front walk.
I am a clay pot. And yet, God has seen fit to put His treasure in me, and I am clay, so that I will remember this power to overcome the worries of this world comes from God, and not from me.
I also love the way The Message translates verse 8, “We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know God knows what to do.” MSG
God has a purpose for my life. He did not make me invincible, or impervious to the troubles of this world, but, He has instilled me with all I need to achieve the mission that He has for me. So, what is there to worry about?