Sadly, I’ve been slow to publish a new blog. I’ve actually had to give this new topic some thought and meditation. Last Friday, I was sitting by the Missouri River, fishing, and I thought about writing something regarding Paul’s description of a treasure we as Christians carry with us through all of what life dishes up for us whether in good times or bad times…like this pandemic. I gave it some thought but never put pen to paper. Then, during our church staff and devotion time this morning, the devotion was on the same particular set of verses I had been thinking about. I guess it was meant to be.
The verses I’m referring to come out of 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 which states, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
While I was meditating on these verses, I recalled how this current pandemic situation seems to be pressing in on us from all directions…do we wear masks, are we keeping the right social distancing, do we wash our hands good enough, are we walking the right direction in the stores that have “one-way” signs posted on the floors of the isles, can we hold real in-person church services or not, will we lose our jobs or will we ever go back to work and earn the pay we need to live on…and the list goes on. All of these things cause stress in our lives and it feels like the world is pressing in on us from all directions. I began to think about this question…“Will that jar (our body) where that treasure is held break during all of this pandemic stress?”
Two things came out of our devotional discussion this morning. Here’s one…Pastor Pat mentioned that if we fill our jar up, it is stronger and will not crack or break as easy. Great point! So, what is the treasure that we should fill ourselves (the jar) up with? I looked closer at the verses and noticed what Paul stated in the middle…“always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” There it is! Did you hear the treasure? What we need to fill ourselves up with is…the Passion Story! We all need to fill ourselves up with the good news that Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross and was raised to life again and now because of God’s grace and having faith in Jesus as God’s Son we too can put our sinful nature to death and be raised with Christ filled with the hope and promise of eternal life with him in heaven! Does that sound like immaterial substance that can’t actually fill a jar? No way! Think about it. If you believe with all your heart that Jesus is God’s Son and believe in what he did for you…these thoughts will fill you up to the point where you will be so full that you will overflow and then being so full, nothing pressing in on you will crack you or break you…you will remain intact!
The second thing we talked about regarding this rich set of verses I will talk about next time in a “blog extension.” So, meditate on these words for a bit. In the “blog extension” I will talk about the strength of the jar itself. I’ll give you a hint, the material scientist engineer in me couldn’t help but come out in our conversation. My kids used to roll their eyes a bit when this happened, but don’t worry, no math, just some interesting relative facts…I promise! Love to you all! Dave