There are a lot of challenges to being a person of faith in Christ Jesus. The church in Corinth has these struggles, too.
In the first place there are all these rules we’re supposed to follow. You know the ones. The ones that prove that we love God and if we do them well enough then God will love us. The ones that so many people see as earning their way to heaven.
And secondly, there are all those bad things that happen to us that God is trying to use to teach us a lesson. You know these bad things. The bad things that happen to us because we’ve done bad things. The bad things that happen to us to get us to change the trajectory of our life. The bad things that happen for ‘a reason.’
Except none of this is true. Not the rules to gain God’s love nor the bad things happening because God is angry. Humans may and do act that way, not God. Humans seek through guile and persuasion to affect an outcome and to change another person to whatever it is that they want. God does not play that game. God is much more straightforward and simply loves each and every one of us, desiring the best for us.
In that love we see that we are a masterful part of God’s creation. We are gifts, and have gifts, that God has created to Bring Christ’s Love to Life so that others can see and experience God’s love. We have different and varied gifts but each of us is important to God and to God’s mission in the world.
We are treasures, in God’s view. Treasures in clay jars to be specific. Now think for a minute about clay jars, or clay pots if you prefer. Are clay jars strong and reliable containers? Or are they weak and prone to being broken.
It doesn’t make much sense that God would put God’s treasure in a storage container as unreliable as us. What treasure do you have that you really love and what do you store it in? Is it in a safe, lock box, or some other equally sturdy container or is it in a clay pot that will shatter if dropped?
The point Paul is making is that the worthiness of the container isn’t important when it comes to the gifts of God in God’s people. It is the treasure contained within those people that is important. Like Paul says in v7, “7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” It’s not about us as such but about what God is doing in and through us. That’s the cool part of this. If it’s up to us, how do these things play out?
It is certainly the case that we’ll screw things up on occasion. Perhaps more than occasionally. But God’s treasure of forgiveness is so much stronger than our ability to fail. We’ll never have a failure so big, so bad, so ugly that God’s treasure of forgiveness given through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross can’t overcome that failure.
In our failures our clay jar will crack but it is through the cracks that light shines. It is in our imperfection that the light of Christ shines through. It is in our brokenness that the light of Christ shines through.
(At this point we watched a powerful video. Copyright won’t let us play the video here but you can see a preview version of the entire video by clicking here)
No matter what happens, the light of Christ will overcome the darkness. No matter the powers of evil at work in the world that attempt to extinguish the light of Christ, that light will continue to shine through us. Through our imperfection. Through our brokenness.
We are the light of Christ that shines through.