Treasure in Fragile Clay Pots

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Follower,

In Paul’s day, the Greek language had two words for two different types of pots. One was called an amphiphora. An amphiphora was a beautifully decorated pot that was sometimes fired to have a beautiful ceramic glaze. These kinds of pots were works of art and used decoratively and as part of a very special meal. The other word for a pot was skeuos. A skeuos was an ordinary clay pot used for just about anything. It was unimportant and insignificant. This kind of pot was used for routine things, could be easily discarded, and was without much consequence even if broken.

When Paul described himself and his fellow gospel messengers, he didn’t use the word amphiphora. Instead, he emphasized the fragile and inconsequential nature of a skeuos pot to describe himself. He described himself as a simple vessel made of earth and clay for ordinary and everyday use. Paul emphasized that he and each person who ministered for Me was a simple, fragile clay pot whose purpose was to carry something significant. My messenger, My clay pot, is not necessarily fancy, flashy, or consequential in his or her personal importance or appearance. The true significance of My messenger is determined by the “treasure” he or she carries as My clay pot.

Paul’s ministry was not about himself, but about declaring the good news of the Almighty Father. This good news was about My coming to earth, My going to the cross to pay the debt for everyone’s guilt of sin, My being buried in a tomb sharing your human mortality, and My triumph over death through My resurrection. The Father used Me to begin His new work of re-creation just as surely as We — Father, Son, and Spirit — created everything when We spoke, “‘Let there be light.’ And light flashed into being” (Genesis 1:3). I entrusted the message of good news about Me and God’s power of re-creation to My disciples who were ordinary people made extraordinary because of the good news they shared and because of the Holy Spirit Who empowered them. They were clay pots carrying glorious treasure!

These ordinary people faced extraordinary challenges. They endured repeated abuses. They were often threatened and sometimes tortured. Some were martyred for sharing this good news about Me. However, nothing could stop them or the message that they shared about Me. The Holy Spirit within them empowered them to speak My good news. Their ordinariness as fishermen, tax collectors, those formerly possessed by demons, fathers, mothers, men and women, young and old made their courage and their impact all the more extraordinary. These ordinary people, these fragile clay pots, brought the treasure to the lost world. They brought the treasure of true life to those who feared death. They carried the treasure of light to those trapped in Satan’s darkness. They delivered the treasure of hope to those lost in monotonous mortality. They brought the treasure of re-creation to those too old or too set in their ways to expect new things.

Paul insisted in the verses for today, and again and again in other places in 2 Corinthians, that the Father’s strength and wisdom are made perfect through human weakness. The Father’s “transcendent character” was at work within these normal people. This power at work within them was not human power, human wisdom, or human charisma. It was Holy Spirit power. It was the Father’s power released through the Holy Spirit’s presence within My disciples. This power was available to all people who follow Me. It was the power that could transform every human life it touched. That same power is available to you, today!

Verses to Live

Don’t depend on the charm, charisma, and persuasiveness of public Christian personalities. The world needs to discover real treasure, not focus on the person who is the vessel to bring My treasure to the lost world. This lost world needs to see the Father’s grace delivered into the world through ordinary people made extraordinary by the Spirit’s work through them.

This transcendent power is also at work in you as another ordinary and fragile clay pot made extraordinary by the treasure that you carry. Listen carefully as Paul teaches about this treasure that is now alive in you!

We do not preach about ourselves. The subject of all our sermons is Jesus, the Anointed One. He is Lord and Master of all. For Jesus’ sake we are here to serve you. The God Who spoke light into existence, saying, “Let light shine from the darkness,” is the very One Who sets our hearts ablaze to shed light on the knowledge of God’s glory revealed in the face of Jesus, the Anointed One.

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us — cracked pots made of earth and clay — so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. For while we live, we are constantly handed over to death on account of Jesus so that His life may be revealed even in our mortal bodies of flesh. So death is constantly at work in us, but life is working in you.

(2 Corinthians 4:5-12)

Response in Prayer

O Almighty Father, there are times when the devil abuses and batters my sense of significance. Sometimes, dear Father, I feel too inconsequential to make a difference in Your work. As I read Paul’s words, I was reminded that Jesus and the powerful good news about Jesus are the treasure. I am Your vessel. I recognize that my sufficiency and significance are found in You and in living for You. So I ask for the Holy Spirit to invigorate my passion to live for Jesus and empower me to share Jesus in word and deed with those around me. Help me do this humbly and compassionately, but courageously by the power of Your Spirit. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.