“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4.6-7From Dave Atkinson
We’ve got a few pots in our garden. One or two look in pretty good shape but, mostly, they show the effects of “wear and tear” from the weather, moss, snails, birds and squirrels. A couple are splattered with cement and, of course, some are cracked.
But, you only really notice all this on closer inspection because it is the contents of the pots that catch the attention – the beauty, the colour, the vibrancy, the scent of the flowers and plants that the pots hold. If the humble garden pot could speak I think it might say, “Don’t worry what I look like, look at the glory within me.”
When the apostle Paul wrote about jars of clay in his letter to the Corinthian Christians, I don’t think he had flowerpots in mind. He was probably referring to clay containers used to store valuable items or important documents – the content being more precious than the container.
The point he was making is that, as Christians, we hold the glory, the power, the beauty of the light of the gospel in our hearts. God, in his grace, has illuminated us with the saving truth of Jesus, the light of the world. We know that having submitted our lives to Jesus, his power has broken the chains of sin and death that had bound us.
We hold the most precious and most powerful thing in all creation and yet, like those clay jars and flowerpots, we hold it in fragile, fallible bodies, susceptible to the elements around us. Why is that?
Well, here are three reasons. First, as Paul says, it is to help us avoid the temptation to claim the power as our own – reminding us that we are saved 100% because of Jesus’ power and 0% because of anything we have done. Second, so that we are dependent on Jesus when we are feeling cracked, worn and splattered with the things of this world. And third, so that the attention of those we meet is drawn to the priceless truth and power of Jesus as he works in and through us.
The pots in our garden are a variety of shapes and sizes and some look more worn than others. They made me think of the people of St Patrick’s! May we be people that say, “Don’t worry what I look like, look at the glory of Jesus within me.”