SCRIPTURE:2 Corinthians 4
Today, I want us to think about ourselves. Let’s really look introspectively at our lives. Look in the mirror. Take stock of who we are, both in the flesh and spiritually. Do we like who we are? What have we sculpted ourselves into? Do we have unused skills or talents?
How many people have a clay mug, bowl, or dish that they have made? You pick it out, paint it, and put it in the kiln to fire. It looks great but it can’t go into the dishwasher. It’s always breakable. It can be fragile and shatter easily. Just like we can!
The Lord puts his treasure into earthen vessels when he puts his STRENGTH and BEAUTY into our bodies of weakness. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 he says “Therefore we do not lose heart but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
Wouldn’t it be great if things could last forever? Clothes would never wear out. Cars would never break down. Batteries would never need to be replaced. How many of us have a box of miscellaneous batteries. The don’t work or your need 3 and only have 2. It is so frustrating. It’s like living without Jesus. The light never gets turned on. Your Earthen vessel is never lit. Paul says: “The outer man is decaying.”
Paul paints a picture in our minds that we are like clay pots. We all know that pottery can crack, get chipped and broken if dropped. We all know that life takes its toll on out physical strength and stamina. Like the candle that gives forth light, it grows shorter with each passing hour until all of its resources are expended. I lit the candles here this morning as an example! At some point, they will burn out.
The body is made of material that will not last forever. “The outer man is decaying.” It is a fact that as we age, there is a process of deterioration. Yet, let me tell you a story. The year was 1947. It was in the Middle East where a young boy found some old clay jars. The jars themselves were not of great value even though they were hundreds of years old. but what these jars contained was priceless. They contained what has become to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They have become one of the most valuable finds in the study of the scriptures. They are priceless as they contained the word of God. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found wound up inside special jars with tight fitting covers which helped to preserve them. The jars were locally made in the Dead Sea area. They are often called the greatest archeological discovery of the 20th century because of their importance to understanding the Bible and the Jewish world at the time of Jesus.
In the same way, we are like those clay jars, earthen vessels. The exterior may be old and fragile. It may be chipped and wearing away. But within us, inside our hearts, there can be a treasure which is the presence of the Holy Spirit. God has put certain treasures in you that will enable you to fulfill your purpose, the assignment, or the role that God has for you. God will not give you a special assignment or a role to play and not equip you with what you need to carry out that assignment effectively. It is like a farmer going out to farm without his farming tools. A painter needs a brush to paint. A Pastor needs a Bible to spread the word of God. The treasures that God has put in you are the tools that you need to carry out his work or fulfill your role. He has set you apart and given you certain talents and skills. Use your Earthen Vessels to do the good works that God has assigned to you.