Saturday, May 28, 2011

Clay Jars

But we have this treasure in clay jars, to show that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.  (2 Corinthians 4:7)

   I stood transfixed as the potter took a lump of clay and began fashioning a vessel.  His moistened fingers glided up and down as the clay began taking shape.  The potter worked and worked, but the object would not conform to his desires.  With a quick movement of his hand, he flattened the object and it was again just a lump of clay.  An apparent mar had appeared that would render the object unusable for future tasks.  Patiently he worked the clay until he was satisfied with its pliability and began again.

   In Paul's day cheaply made clay jars leaked, chipped, cracked, and appeared unattractive.  Nevertheless their functionality proved their worth.  These pots held everything from food to fuel and could be seen in open windows, near cooking fires, and in marketplaces.  How amazing that a perfect God would choose to put his treasure -- the message of the gospel -- in fragile, ordinary, unattractive clay jars!

   In order for God to fill these clay jars, they must first be emptied of everything pertaining to self and the world.  God works through the weak, the imperfect, and the powerless to show that this "extraordinary power belongs to him and does not come from us."  My flaws, cracks, and imperfections allow the all-sufficient grace of God to leak out.

   I continued to watch as the potter coated the clay jar with glaze and put it into the fiery furnace.  Under extreme heat and pressure the ordinary looking clay jar underwent a transformation.  When taken from the oven, an object of beauty emerged.

Thought for the Day:  An empty clay jar waits to be filled.

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