06.01.22 | Articles, The Shepherd's Voice | by Don Treglown
Years ago, our art class from O.E.Dunckel Jr. High, was invited to a local pottery place to make clay pots. They gave us a glob or gray clay and they helped shape them into small jars. No matter what shaped they ended up as our teacher took these masterpieces and placed them into a kiln. We went through the science of what happens to clay when exposed to extreme heat.
What’s interesting to me all these years later is that after the jars were hardened under temperatures that exceeded 1,000 degrees, they were still incredibly fragile. Many of us bumped our projects and got chips in them and a few of us dropped the jars and watched them smash into hundreds of tiny pieces.
What seems so durable on the outside – refined by fire – can be fragile and easily broken. Recently, during Sunday Morning Bible Study, we read in Paul’s second letter to the Cornithians the example of Christians being like clay jars.
It sounds so different than the words we hear all the time. “You need to toughen up” , “Why aren’t you stronger”, and the familiar, “I thought you were unbreakable”. We can never be strong, tough, or unbreakable enough. What we can do is confess that we are helpless sinners at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
For that is where God steps in. The gifts of grace, mercy, love, and new life in Jesus Christ takes the clay jars and fills them with all the joy we seek in life. Remember when God steps in He reminds us of His words: “You can find rest in Me. My grace is sufficient for you. True power comes from Me and through My Spirit you will be strengthened.”
I believe that it is truly in our weakness that God’s strength is most clear. When we admit to ourselves and God that we are but clay jars – delicate, weak, and fragile – this is when we see what the Lord can provide.
I gave my clay jar as a gift to my Grandmother. Immediately, she went out and picked some Morning Glory flowers from her garden to bring purpose, beauty, and used it as a lesson to me. The lesson was that when she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me and told me the words “This is the greatest treasure you have given me” it reminded me of the greatest treasure God has given. That gift is the new life found in our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. That is just what a clay jar needs for an abundant life.