“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (1st Corinthians 4:7 KJV)
The Roman Empire in the first century AD was dependent on olive oil in similitude to our use of petroleum today. Its purposes ranged from cooking and fuel for lamps to medicines and cosmetics. Spain was the major exporter of this valuable commodity, which was shipped in large clay jugs. When the cherished olive oil was delivered and transferred to more manageable containers, the clay vessels were discarded into a huge heap on the outskirts of town, which eventually became a sizable hill of clay shards.
Paul used these jugs as an illustration to the Corinthian church. Back then, everybody knew the great worth of olive oil, but also the disposable nature of the clay vessels it was delivered in. Paul likened our disposable fleshly bodies with these disposable jars of clay. These earthly bodies enshroud the real us; our soul and spirit. Every soul is precious in God’s sight.
As Christians born of the Spirit we carry around even greater treasure within our clay vessels: The Spirit of truth.
The miraculous signs that God performed through the Apostles of Christ, were a constant reminder of the validity of our doctrine. Peter was an unschooled fisherman who preached with power at Pentecost, when three-thousand souls were added to the church. The Holy Spirit worked mightily through Peter’s fleshly body. If the disciples held PhDs, one might conclude their claims and doctrine were a hoax, something they’d come up with themselves. But the truth of God’s word, which was recorded through His Holy Apostles is in itself, proof enough that it was the Spirit of the Living God who performed these things.
God’s purpose for using weak vessels to deliver his power and word through, is to bring glory to Himself rather than the vessel. The question therefore is, do we give God the glory as he works through His messengers?
I’m afraid that sometimes I may focus too much on the person God is using, and not enough on the message or work that God delivers through the person. God’s Spirit residing in you discerns the Spirit imparting God’s word through another.
One of the wonderful works the Spirit in you does, is to encourage good works in me, and vice-versa. It’s always good for us to encourage one another, urging each other on in the work of the Lord. We give God the glory, yet we still acknowledge and encourage the one who walks uprightly in service for God.
Is your clay vessel bringing glory to God?
Thank you Father, for the unity we have in Christ Jesus. We praise you for our spiritual family. Thank you for your Spirit, who enables us to carry on your work here on earth. Help us to humbly accept your word spoken through others, Amen.
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