Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Sometimes God permits our vessels to be jarred so that some of the treasure will spill out and enrich others. Suffering reveals not only the weakness of man but also the glory of God. Paul presented a series of paradoxes in this paragraph: earthen vessels--power of God; the dying Jesus--the life of Jesus; death working--life working. The natural mind cannot understand this kind of spiritual truth and therefore cannot understand why Christians triumph over suffering.
Not only must we focus on the treasure and not on the vessel, but we must also focus on the Master and not on the servant. If we suffer, it is for Jesus' sake. If we die to self, it is so that the life of Christ may be revealed in us. If we go through trials, it is so that Christ may be glorified. And all of this is for the sake of others. As we serve Christ, death works in us--but life works in those to whom we minister.
Dr. John Henry Jowett said, "Ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing." He was right. A pastor friend and I once heard a young man preach an eloquent sermon, but it lacked something. "There was something missing," I said to my friend, and he replied, "Yes, and it won't be there until his heart is broken. After he has suffered awhile, he will have a message worth listening to."
Applying God's Truth:
Think of yourself as a vessel that carries the treasure of God, and then try to describe yourself in such terms (large or small, strong or fragile, new or antique, etc.).
When was the last time you felt "jarred" significantly--to the point of almost breaking? How did you handle the situation?
When most people look at your life, what do you think they see: yourself, or the treasure you contain? Why?
We hope you have enjoyed Warren Wiersbe's study in 2 Corinthians. To continue this study, purchase his book Devotions for Encouragement and Maturity, published by David C. Cook.
Devotions for Encouragement and Maturity. ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.