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2 Corinthians 4.1-15; Treasure in Clay Jars

Olivia was a gardener. She loved her flowers and she cared for them like they were her children. Needless to say her yard was filled with vibrant colored flowers. Many of them were planted in pots—plain terra cota pots. Olivia refused to purchase expensive, painted, fancy flower pots. She felt that they detracted from the natural beauty of the flowers. She wanted to make sure that everyone’s attention was on the flowers and not on the pots.

Paul points out that we carry the priceless treasure of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our broken and imperfect lives. We carry the marks of rough use. Life has dropped us a few times and we’re a little cracked. We aren’t too impressive on the outside, but that is okay. What really matters is the love and grace of God that we carry inside. As mundane terra cota pots the people’s attention is drawn to the good news and that is as it should be.

2 Corinthians 4:1-15

Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke” —we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.