TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY
“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do no lose heart….we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.” II Cor. 4:1,7
I saw this verse in action last week. It happened while visiting Valparaiso, Chile.
Valparaiso is a city built mainly on a series of hills – about 40 or so – that rush steeply to the Pacific Ocean and are covered with humble homes precariously perching one on top of another. It is one of the oldest settlements in Chile and has many historic sites. When it’s not the rainy season, things get pretty dry, but the constant breezes coming off the ocean are refreshing.
Unfortunately, all the right conditions exist in this picturesque city for the easy spread and monumental destruction caused by wildfires. In 2014, wildfires ravaged about 10 of these hills destroying about 3000 homes, leaving 15 dead and 500 wounded. Approximately 12,500 people were left without a place to live.
The Lutheran Church of Chile has been busy giving aide and relief since the first terrifying moments. Not only have we been giving physical relief, but we now have relationships with many affected families and are teaching them from God’s Word about our Savior, Jesus.
Recently, as we went to Valparaiso to share God’s love and lend a hand, we were given a tour of a more recent fire zone in a different neighborhood. The causes seemed to be faulty wiring. Because the houses are built so close together, the fire spread quickly and burned 11 homes.
As we gazed at the destruction, we spotted a clay pot, intact, in the middle of the rubble. It had withstood the fire and was titled as if it had just been emptied of its contents. Wow! That’s exactly what God has called us to do: carry His Spirit inside of us and be ready to pour it out wherever needed. It may be in the midst of fire or storms; in places of desperation or confusion; among friends or strangers. He promises to hold on to us…to be our Guide and Protector, and to supply us with exactly what is needed.
I’m probably starting to look a little like that beat up, singed clay pot. But that’s okay. It is important to remember that we are His vessels, created with a purpose, designed to serve others and to carry the treasure, which is Jesus. He is the Light and only Hope for this world in which we live.