7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 COR 4:7-12)
A REFLECTION on 2 COR 4:7-12
Moulded by the Lord out of dust, we are inexpensive, plain, earthen pots - simple, clay vessels filled with an unexpected, priceless Treasure which is hidden from view.
We wobble on our chipped, clay bases. Sometimes, we wobble because our own decisions and choices remove some of our stability. At other times, life just ‘serves us lemons’ and the wind blows unexpectedly, and so we topple.
On our earthly journeys, perhaps we topple over many, many times. We chip, fracture and we crack. And being so broken and no longer a useful ‘pot’, we can despair and assume that we are no longer wanted or needed. Our purpose is no longer viable, our usefulness has gone. Perhaps we even believe the lies of the world that ‘nothing will change’, ‘my mission or ministry won’t reach its purpose' or that ‘no-one cares’.
* Maybe many of us have felt like ‘cracked and broken pots’ over the last 20 months?
* Perhaps we’ve wondered what the Lord has been doing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic?
* Perhaps we have felt overcome or defeated by fear, worry and anxiety about our future and the health of our loved ones?
* Perhaps our businesses, our ministries, churches, charities and families have been fractured during these troubled times?
There is a Japanese art form called “Kintsugi” or "golden joinery”. It celebrates the art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. It treats breakage and repair as part of the beauty and history of an object, rather than something to disguise as shameful or to be regarded as devaluing the object.
As we fracture and break and spill our God-given Treasure, the Lord looks on and waits. He looks and imagines how beautiful we will become if ONLY we would invite 'The Potter' to work on us……! He sees our ‘flaws’ that, once repaired, will become part of our future magnificence and triumph. He desires that we be ONLY repaired by Him. He LONGS to lay His hands on our brokenness, our fragility and to sooth us. The Potter waits. He waits……..
When we decide that there is nothing that we can do to improve our situation, we eventually submit our dull, broken pieces to The Patient Potter. By embracing our flaws and imperfections, IN Jesus, we become so much more than we were - something even stronger - and a profoundly, more beautiful piece of art. The Spirit’s Treasure is re-instated and is multiplied, in its revamped home. Now, the earthen vessel stands a little taller, and has a beauty and elegance not previously seen. Even its foundation has lost its wobble.
REJOICE! Let us all take heart because we have come into God’s kingdom of discipleship - as Esther did - for such a time as this! God will repair and equip us to fulfill the assignment and mission that the Lord has placed on each of our hearts.
So let us not complain or despair or be anxious about what is happening in the kingdom of God during this difficult time. Instead, let us thank and praise God for everything that has happened, is happening and will happen. He does NOT leave us orphans or without power or authority to complete our assignments and our mission - but He fully equips us through His Spirit. These fractures and cracks in us, beautifully repaired, are a reflection of the Holy Spirit’s work on us.
As I have heard Dr Mary Healy say, we should thank God that it is us who are born to live in this time because ‘times of greater trouble’ require ‘times of greater graces, greater anointing of the Holy Spirit and greater miracles, greater signs and wonders and greater help from God’.
So let us Rejoice and be glad! Let us ask for greater graces and gifts from the Lord; and let us become THE source of joy and of light in this world of darkness, confident in God’s goodness and faithfulness to us! PRAISE BE JESUS CHRIST!
Sue is the Team Leader of the Unbound Lincoln Team, in the UK and involved in the training of UK Unbound Teams.