‘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.’
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
I had wasted most of my day. I was disappointed because I felt that none of my efforts to use my time well were ever fruitful. I wanted to be a good steward, to do good. I felt completely weak and defeated. And guilty.
That morning my mom had reminded me how Jesus chose his disciples knowing they would abandon Him. He chose Judas as His disciple knowing He would betray Him. In Mark 3, it says that “He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him.” It later goes on to list the twelve disciples, and ends with the phrase “and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.”
Let’s apply the words of Mark to Judas personally. Jesus went up on the mountain and called to Him Judas whom He desired. He spent years loving and serving Judas, using Him for His Kingdom, all the while knowing that Judas would stab Him in the back. He knew that. Nevertheless, He desired Judas.
Jesus desires us. He desires broken souls and rebellious hearts. He has chosen us. This is a marvelous truth because it frees us from the spiritually deadly idea that we have to earn His love.
We work so hard to be good. To be enough. The world feeds us the lie that we can be enough, that we are what we need. It sounds like freedom. It isn’t. We try to earn the pleasure and affection of God. But we are unable. We are weak. We are human. David committed adultery and murdered someone to cover it up. Abraham lied about his wife saying she was his sister, and got his wife taken from him. Moses was a criminal and couldn’t speak well. Mary was accused of having sex out of wedlock for her whole life. We are broken, fragile creatures.
Jesus has chosen to put His treasure in jars of clay.
To find out what the treasure talked about in Mark 4:7 is, one needs to look at the preceding verse: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). The treasure is the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” that has been given by God by shining in our hearts. We now know the glory of God. That’s the treasure. The glory of God is precious, immortal, powerful, holy, and good. All the things we aren’t. Yet he has chosen to give us that.
Clay jars are fragile. They are thick, and they look rigid and sturdy, but with one fall they break into pieces. That’s us. We think we’re sturdy, that we can navigate life by our strength. We just aren’t. And Jesus chose us. He knew we were jars of clay.
So we can rest in the fact that He chose us. We can rest because He desired jars of clay, and He uses us for His glory. The verses 8-10 explain that all the afflictions and the pains and the hardships and even the temptations to waste our time, that we go through, display His glory. Those things show that we are frail, but the fact that we aren’t ever totally defeated shows that He is mighty.
Jesus is ok with us being weak. He chose us. So I choose to rest in His wisdom and to let Him have the glory and to strive to not try to be enough.