Life as a Jar of Clay in a World of Stones

Clay Water Jar 2

A clay water jar from the time of Paul.

God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Clay jars. That’s what we are! Pieces of pottery sculpted by our loving Creator as reflections of perfection. We are frail, just as a clay jar is frail, and yet we are functional. We can serve a valuable role in the daily operations of our Master.

Paul, in 2 Corinthians says that God has given us a great treasure inside our jars of clay. He has given us the light of the knowledge of the person and work of Jesus Christ. This light pierces the darkness, just as it did on that day of Creation, and enlightens the world around it. Deeds of darkness are exposed, human need for a Savior comes to the surface, and the attraction of Jesus and his perfect sacrifice for sin becomes apparent.

And the way the light of Christ is shown to the world has to do with us! We have this treasure in our lives. In our jars of clay. We have chips and cracks. Some of us may be missing a lid! We are imperfect in our pottery and that is a part of God’s plan. You see, God uses our imperfections to show that it is He, not us, who can save a human soul. We cannot forgive sins but God can. We cannot clean out dirty hearts, but God can. We cannot mend broken lives, but God can.

We are His witnesses that He has done this in our lives. Our broken, chipped, lid-missing lives.

This year I have been constantly reminded that my body is a jar of clay. Last winter I was significantly disabled by a sudden advancement of my Meniere’s Disease, the same inner ear disorder that prevented me from moving to Scotland. I guess I have seen my jar of clay lose a handle and part of its rim, and leak water out that tiny, invisible crack that I never spotted before.

This has been a tough year for me personally. This year I have lost most of my ability to drive (I drive on rare occasions), my ability to walk distances and to function in crowded places, and hindered my ability to both read and type. I have been in and out of doctor’s offices, had a number of three-letter exams, and on October 20th I am scheduled to have one injection into each inner ear in hopes of regaining some of my equilibrium.

It has been a very trying year.

Yet I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians, I have a fragile body “so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.” I am a witness to God’s ability to provide peace and comfort in a difficult time.. a witness in the midst of my cracked jarness… err… hurting body.

You can be a witness of God’s transforming power in Christ, too. Are you going through a trial or have you recently come out of one? Let the light of Christ shine through your cracks and proclaim to those around you how God has helped you and what you have learned about Him through the process.

We live in a world full of stones, and a lot of people seem pleased to throw them at clay jars like yours and mine. But no force can extinguish the light of Christ that you carry with you in this world. So, as the old nursery song goes, “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

— John