CARRYING TREASURE in our EARTHEN VESSELS: "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who 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 earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." (2 Cor 4:5-7)
In the above passage, Apostle Paul compares the conversion of a sinner to the entrance of light at the dawn of creation where God, who had commanded light to shine out of darkness (Gen. 1:3), has now Himself shone in our hearts. The material creation in Genesis began with light and so also does the spiritual creation when we are ‘born again’ through the light of the gospel.
In ancient times it was a common practice to bury treasures inside clay jars. As these treasures were enclosed in earthen vessels, so the indwelling Christ lives within our earthly bodies. Jesus Christ, the ‘Light of the World’ (John 8:12) came into our hearts when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. In doing so, God has given us a wonderful treasure in our earthen vessels, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27), and the salvation offered to those believing in His name (John 3:16). God does not shine in our hearts simply to give us this knowledge, but rather that through us this knowledge might shine to others. We are not just the terminals of God’s blessing but His channels and reflectors of His light!
Now, in our frail human bodies we are carrying a treasure within us that will guide others to their heavenly destiny. This treasure is the ‘glorious message of the gospel’. Why has God planned that this treasure should be in earthen vessels? The answer is so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. All the praise and glory must go to the Creator (God) and not the creature (humans).
One interesting comparison can be found in the book of Judges (chapter 7) where Gideon equipped his army of 300 men with trumpets, empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. At the appointed signal, his men were to blow their trumpets and break the pitchers. When the pitchers were broken, the lamps shone out in brilliance. This terrified the enemy and they were defeated. Just as in Gideon’s case the light only shone forth when the pitchers were broken, so it is in connection with the gospel. Only when our human instruments (earthen vessels) are broken and yielded to the Lord can the gospel light shine forth through us in all its magnificence!
By God’s grace and power, let us live in such a way so that others can see Jesus living through us. Let us be living and shining vessels carrying of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ every day!
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt 5:14-16)