This has been a busy week, and I have had no time to post, so forgive me for putting up something which I have posted elsewhere before! Hopefully there will be some new posts over the next couple of days.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
This is one of those quotes that I have come back to time and again over the years. Paul sees himself as an unlovely pot containing a fabulous treasure.
I wonder if this doesn’t have something to say to ministers, ministries and life in general for those who love Jesus.
If you are a minister, or a leader in a ministry, there is a great temptation to forget what’s pot and what’s not pot. A lot of what we do in churches and ministries is “pot.”
Now don’t get me wrong here. Calling something “pot” is not to say that it is worthless. The jar of clay in 1 Corinthians 4:7 is a useful repository for treasure even if it is not itself treasure. Of course the value of an empty pot might be called into question, but if the “pot” is a repository for treasure then that’s a different matter.
There is a danger that in our ministry effort and energy we substitute “pot” for treasure. So much of what we rightly do is “pot.”
Church buildings are “pot”, necessary, but “pot” none-the-less. So to is finance, essential, but “pot.” Greater numbers and church growth? What about healthy churches? “Pot”too.
Some might be getting uncomfortable with this. Surely the treasure is the gospel isn’t it? I think we need to be careful here.
Notice what Paul says immediately before in v 6 “ For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
If Paul sees himself as the “pot” then he sees the treasure within himself as “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” The treasure is knowledge of the glory of God, or to put it more simply, the God we know in Jesus.
Now that is in a sense the gospel, but if we are not careful we will allow more measurable ministry achievements to supplant the living God as the goal and treasure of our hearts.
Sure such temptations are seductive, but to allow that to happen is to settle for “pot” when treasure is on offer.