The fiery furnace of the kiln transforms an unfinished product into a household amenity. No matter how beautiful it is, it is fragile and easily broken.
The Bible describes us as jars of clay, with a treasure hidden inside (2 Corinthians 4:7-10). Everything about us is beautiful, functional… but easily broken.
Being a mum to small children as well as older stepchildren, I am faced daily with my weaknesses. Often it’s in the form of exhaustion and impatience. A case study week in our house goes like this: I am tired, but I keep going… The tiredness can lead to impatience with my family, although they are not to blame; they are a blessing and a joy.
The exhaustion is a reminder that I am a clay jar and part of a fallen world. Without the grace of God and His divine enabling, I can do nothing. I am an unlikely container – as many of us are. Doesn’t it seem really odd that the Word of God and the power of its message could be carried in fragile messengers like you and I?
God purposely designed it this way, so there would be absolute clarity as to the Source of the life-changing power of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse seven of my opening text couldn’t be clearer with the contrast between treasure and a clay jar.
What if, rather than trying to do things in our own strength, we acknowledged our frailties and used them to lead us to the One who never grows weary? What if we fixed our eyes on the things that are eternal and not those things that are temporary?
I don’t think it matters whether you’ve been saved for one year or 20 years. Throughout our Christian walk, as the principles of growth work themselves out in our lives, we are faced with the decisions of whether to focus on what’s temporary or what’s eternal. Walking in forgiveness when I was single was hard sometimes, but also relatively straightforward. Fast forward to married life and, in a bid to ‘stand my ground’, I can find myself trying to do deals with God!
We need to allow God’s truth to refocus our eyes on the treasure that dwells within us – a treasure that can fill the emptiest vessel. A jar is designed to hold something. I pray that we all cultivate the habit of asking God to fill us with His power and His peace. There are times when as a mum I feel so helpless and empty. Those moments are when I am walking in my humanity, and not realising that feeling empty is an opportunity – an opportunity to rely on God’s strength and to receive from Him what I was created to carry. Suddenly I am positioned for restoration, and I realise that I may be hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.
When we look in the mirror and see only a fragile clay pot, despair is the natural response. But, when we see the beautiful treasure we hold, we are inwardly renewed. The cracks in our clay pots are not to be despised; they serve a purpose. They allow the life of God – that precious treasure – to seep out for all those around us to see.
ESTHER KUKU Is a journalist and Communications Professional. Love God, love life, love people Twitter: @mew36