Day 2 of the “30 Days of No Complaining and No Bragging.” I was just taking a headcount of all the things I complain about. Top of the list: my body. Besides the double-wide hips, I also complain a great deal about what most people feel: joints that creek and hurt, and all the aches and pains that come with your body growing old. So when my Bible study today focused on 2 Corinthians chapter 4, I was smacked upside the head. I just LOVE God’s ever-handy Biblical 2 by 4!
The first 6 verses of chapter 4 makes me raise my eyebrows and gets my soap opera juices flowing. The apostle Paul goes to TOWN on some unknown people (I’m sure they knew who they were as soon as they saw what he wrote in a Biblical version of a FaceBook post!) But, that’s not what we’re going to focus on today. You can go ahead and read that on your own. Just get out your concordance and break out the popcorn, cuz it’s quite a show!
We’re talking about old, creaking, painful joints with hair either falling out or growing in really weird places. We’re looking at parts of us that used to work really well a few days ago, but now they just can’t seem to get moving. We’re going to look at verses 6-18 today. Paul writes that we are all “treasure in jars of clay.” What is important is what’s inside of us, but the container that holds that is either already broken, or weakening with age. God made us this way. If you leave a clay jar out in the weather, very soon it’s worn away. What is left is the stuff that is inside us- good or bad. God owns what’s inside me, so I know that treasure will be just fine. So, what about that clay jar?
Paul reminds us in verses 8 & 9 that things are going to be tough on that old jar. We just need to hang on to that treasure, because that is what will bring you joy. We’re afflicted. Scared. Worried about being forgotten in our old age, or people will attack us when we’re weakened.
Don’t forget, the word “but” erases everything that is said or written before it. All of that stuff happening or that will happen to this body will not be for eternity. Rheumatoid arthritis hurts. Cancer is painful and heart wrenching. Diabetes is difficult physically and emotionally. At some point in our lives, we ALL will be bed-ridden. Just facing up to all of that future just makes you want to close your eyes. BUT that is not the end.
Read this next part, but replace the “we” and “our” with “I” and “my”. Go ahead. I’ll wait…
Just let that sink in for a minute. There’s that ray of sunshine you see coming out after a scary storm. That’s the feeling you get on that first day you open your windows after a long, hard winter. That’s the reason you see some people who are fighting cancer or recovering from an amputation still smile. Because the jar may fail, but the spirit shall rise.
Sometimes I’m not always fond of my jar of clay. But I totally dig spending time with other jars. Some of us will compare cracks, and some of us will share our treasure… and I will try my best to focus more on the latter.