unadorned clay pots | 2 Corinthians 4.7-12
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 | ESV
It’s a classic scene.
“Choose wisely,” says the guardian of the grail. Unholy seeker asks the opinion of the expert: “Which one is it?” Life and death hang in the balance, literally. She chooses a jewel-encrusted chalice and death ensues. “He choose poorly.” And there it sits before them on the table. The unadorned chalice, rudimentary, simple.
And life flows.
Love that scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
So much time we spend encrusting ourselves with performance, achievement and accomplishment. We try so hard to make it – and perhaps some of us pull it off – at least to all appearances, anyway. But most of us can only shrug in shame at the reflection. No matter how much effort, how much affected finesse, how refined a religious resume we can cobble together, we see it, we know it. We are but unadorned, clay pots.
Cracked pots, actually.
When I first encountered this passage from Paul’s letter I was reminded of the story of Gideon and his three hundred – armed with clay pots and torches, surrounding a great host. And in the middle of the night, Gideon and his three hundred shattered the pots, the broken pots now suddenly revealing the blazing light.
Lesson: God uses not just the unadorned clay pots, but the cracked and shattered ones to reveal his glory. Any effort encrusting ourselves with religious jewels will only end up adorning the floor with them. For crack and smash them (us!) he will, that light concealed within us may shine forth.
How often do you feel pressure to be something more than an “unadorned clay pot”?
Where does that pressure come from? What do you hear the Potter saying to you?
Divine Potter, free me from the presumption that I must somehow be more than I am, more than you have made me to be. Free me from all those self-imposed or others-imposed expectations to do more, achieve more, to be worthy before. Let me rest in your hands that simply delight in forming me, and be content in the increasing number of cracks I witness in me. Shine through each one. Brilliantly. Through Christ.