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What Do Earthen Vessels and Glass Jars Have to Do With Each Other

Today I’m thinking about a favorite Scripture of mine from 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, 15.  St. Paul wrote to the people in the churches he founded and continued to visit for as long as he possibly could.  His words ring true for us as well.  Here’s the passage:

“What we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants 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 Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us…For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.”

This is the sum of what St. Paul preached.  His words still echo in our hearts today.  The truth that he’s preaching rings deep chimes, bells, gongs, marimbas in the hearts of all who love Jesus.  In fact, his words become our words when we follow Jesus.  His words are not just words from the mouths of ordained preachers. 

True followers, most of whom are not formal preachers, still preach with their very lives.  Their actions speak volumes, saying to all who will hear, “we bring Christ as Lord, and us as his servants, into each present situation.”  Why?  Because God himself has shone in our hearts so that we get to see His glory in the face of Christ.

In our day, with a serious COVID virus on our doorstep wanting to come in, we are very much aware of our bodies, our very lives as being mere vessels made of earth.  We are mortal.  Death will come to each of us at some point in the future.  I don’t say this in order to be morbid or depressing.  I’m simply stating reality.  We humans are mortal and vulnerable.

And yet it’s like the Psalmist said in Psalm 8:3-5

“When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?

Yet thou hast made him little less than God and dost crown him with glory and honor…O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!”

Indeed!  Now back to the passage in 2 Corinthians.  God our Lord has given the grandeur of his eternal light and glory to bear in these mortal bodies, our earthen vessels.

I don’t know about you, but that very thought tames me and fills me with awe and wonder.  And then, as if that weren’t enough, the Lord our God has done this so that the grace he has given us may shine to more and more people, increasing thanksgiving and joy for all.  And all this is done for the glory of God!

I know that it's still a week before Thanksgiving Day, but I'm already feeling the need to "give Him thanks and praise."

Dr. Brene Brown, renowned author of The Daring Way, makes the claim that we actually need to take on a spiritual discipline of daily thankfulness.  She writes of her own practice of keeping a thanksgiving glass jar. Every morning she writes what she's thankful for on small pieces of paper and places them in the glass jar.  A daily practice of giving thanks brings joy.  No matter what else is going on in our "earthen vessels."  Can you imagine what it would be like for that thanksgiving to come alive, not in a glass jar on the table, but come alive exactly in our earthen vessels.

Leave me a comment.


2020 © Dorothy Gremillion


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