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Jars of Clay

by | May 28, 2024 | Christian Example, Light, Weakness

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”

(2 Corinthians 4:5-12 ESV)

Over the years of our ministry, my husband and I have come to know our weaknesses like never before. And we’re not the only ones. You can’t take care of refugees and immigrants for forty years without getting intimately involved in their lives—and they in yours. By now I’m sure our church could give you a comprehensive list of all our weak spots—the times we lose our tempers, my trouble managing time, the days we can’t seem to pull ourselves together. They know about my disability and my husband’s eye surgery. There isn’t a single one of them who thinks we are strong and perfect. They know us far too well.

Paul is right. We are jars of clay, not alabaster—not gold—not even steel (which would be a great deal more durable than we are). We are fragile. We can leak. We can be broken. And so can every other Christian.

But it’s not always a bad thing when people see our weakness, you know? Because when we leak, what do they see? They see Jesus’ glory shining through the holes and broken spots. They see the One who came into the world to save us and them, to lay down His life on the cross, so that together we and them may become the children of God. They see Jesus, who rose from the dead in the power of God the Father, and who works now through the weakness of His children to bring healing to a broken world.

It’s really not so bad, being a clay jar. Because when Jesus lives in us, and we break, they see Him more. And that can only be good.

We Pray: Lord, use my weaknesses for Your glory, and to help Your people whom You love. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on May 29, 2024
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. What is one weakness you have?
2. Why does God seem to prefer working through broken people?
3. When has God used someone else’s weakness to show you Jesus?