I reflected on human insignificance over the past week. The thought came first by recognition that among my acquaintances are many decidedly ordinary people. Some have nothing to commend them, having been raised in very ordinary circumstances, with no evident talent, nothing to give them social appeal, limited education, poor career prospects, distracting habits of speech or behaviour, self-absorbed life focus, and so on.
Yet I count such people among my dear friends and enjoy being with them. That is not to say their peculiarities don’t get in the way at times, but beyond their banal humanness are qualities of incredible value. I mean specifically that each has had an encounter with the Living God and found salvation and grace through putting faith in Jesus Christ as their saviour and lord.
Through that experience these very ordinary and ignorable people have a deposit within them that is truly divine. So it is not unusual for one of them to come out with something that is quite beyond them, such as an insight prompted by the Holy Spirit, or a response of heart that reflects the heart of God toward a situation. There is a treasure in these people that transcends their ordinariness.
That’s what the great apostle Paul meant when he said we hold treasure in our clay pot.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels (clay pots), that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2Corinthians 4:7
When we are ‘born again’ as Jesus said we need to be (John 3:3) we are ‘born of God’ and that new life within us transcends our failing humanity. In our humanness, our ‘flesh’, there is nothing of any value, as the apostle Paul declared.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) is no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Romans 7:18
We are stuck with our ‘earthen vessel’, the Clay Pot of our humanity. But inside our clay pot is an unspeakable treasure completely out of character with the rest of us and quite out of place in us. Thus we are a kind of contradiction. We are basically worthless clay pots, yet, with that treasure inside us, we are incredibly valuable.
That thought filtered into my consciousness as I considered some of the ordinary people I meet with week by week in various places. If they were to stand on their own social merits they might be written off by those with social pride. But their humanness fades in the light of their divine standing.
Each of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ stands as a Son of God (adopted into God’s family) with a personal relationship with God as our heavenly Father and Jesus as our Saviour, Lord and brother. We also have the Holy Spirit resident within us leading us to become more like God, even though we can frustrate or stall that process if we choose.
Consequently we are tuned in to eternity and to the divine. At any moment any one of us can be lit up by revelation, prompting, conviction, faith, inspiration, compassion, a gift of the Holy Spirit, sense of God’s presence and love, sweep of God’s grace, application of a kingdom principle (like forgiveness) or some similar divine connection. And there are no other people on the planet with whom we can share such an amazing capacity.
Rubbing shoulders with the elite, or the wealthy, educated, influential, talented and famous is one thing, but if those people are not born again in spirit and connected with the Living God they are just clay pots. What is worse for them, they are empty clay pots.
We Christians are clay pots, and we may be clay pots of the most ordinary kind, but inside these pots is glorious treasure. That treasure is described by the apostle Paul as “light” and it is wonderful.
So, to all my fellow clay pot Christians, I rejoice with you that despite our desperate ordinariness and all our failings in the eyes of those who can discern social qualities, we carry God’s treasure. What delight and what a humbling privilege. I salute you and I bless you and I rejoice with you that we can share such undeserved privilege by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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