2 Corinthians 4:7 says, “Now we have this treasure (the gospel) in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not us.”
You can hear or read thoughts and theological reports on this verse all you want. But until you get it, you just don’t get it. I’ll throw my aha in the ring today, see if it speaks to you.
I am made of materials that will perish, yes, that’s true in the long run. But this verse isn’t speaking to that. It’s speaking to the part of me that is my nature, my being. On my best days I see myself whole and on my worst – completely broken. How can both be true?
Visualize a beautiful clay jar on a fireplace mantel. See it fall to the hardwood floor. Maybe it was placed too close to the edge. Maybe the earth shook. Maybe someone knocked it off on purpose. If we give human attributes to the jar, maybe it was tired of being on the mantle and thought the floor looked exciting. Regardless, it’s now broken on the floor.
Beauty distorted and purpose lost. Pieces large and small scattered.
But Someone with power decides it is worth repairing. They gather the pieces and put the puzzle back together. But, here’s the thing, there are pieces missing. Little shards that turned to powder on impact, that larger chunk that flew under a piece of furniture, one triangle that bounced back up and into the ashes in the fire. So when the jar is ‘whole’ again, it’s altered.
I’ve seen this dramatized. At this point someone places a light in the jar and we all get the point. Now the light of the gospel shines through us! AHA!! But today it doesn’t end there for me.
Life is a long series of this process. We fall or jump off the mantle many times and each time, pieces we thought vital to our existence turn to dust or are lost. And yet, the Someone with power gathers our brokenness and pieces us back together. And each time there are more spaces between where the light within shines out.
I am both whole and broken. If I could draw, or create a digital image of this it would look like pieces suspended in air but you could still see the form. The more life I live, the more empty spaces for The Light to shine through, unless….
Because, as we say, nature abhors a vacuum, we start sticking pieces on ourself. Something seems to be missing so we try to patch ourself up with inferior materials. And the more we patch the more misshapen we become and the less spaces for The Light to shine through.
So I choose to allow the tension of being both whole and broken. The pieces that are missing from my life are gone. If I try to fill in with lesser materials, thinking that will make me whole, I become lopsided and fall again.
I am whole. I am broken. The light within me is the Good News of the God who loves me enough to continually put me back together.
Let Him shine.