October 23, 2018

Treasure in Clay Jars

2 Corinthians 4

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

—  2 Corinthians 4:7

In ancient times there were no banks as we know them. So people would keep their valuables and treasure hidden, and they would keep it in everyday containers like clay jars, tucked away in a secret place or buried in the ground.

Paul makes good use of the contrast between the clay and the treasure. The cheap, rough, material of a clay jar is totally different from the refined, precious jewels and coins it may contain. And Paul compares the treasure to the precious message of salvation that God calls us to share in Jesus’ name, despite all our earthy weaknesses and sinfulness.

How precious are the “wonderful words of life,” the message of forgiveness through God’s love and grace, the news of Jesus’ victory over death, and the promise of our own resurrection! There is no truth so precious as the gospel of Christ!

Often, however, we get discouraged in our own weakness. Even if we are not persecuted or imprisoned for our faith like Paul was, we can understand the feeling of being “hard pressed on every side.” Until the day we are called into eternal glory, we must not lose heart. Till then, let this be our motto: “We also believe and therefore we speak.” Let us not lapse into silence. The same grace that forgave our sin carries us on, through life, so that light may shine out of darkness.

Lord Jesus, you give us the precious words of life. As we follow you, teach us how to live each day in the boundless grace of God. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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