Caring for Clay
by Karen Kurth
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)
Recently I asked God to show me my attachments that took me away from His presence. What came to mind was my preoccupation with body image. Immediately what echoed in my head was my earthly father’s voice sternly proclaiming, “Vanity!” But as I continued to sit with my Heavenly Father, I began to hear Him quietly sing His songs of love over me. Yes, even over this neglected body!
A battle over believing that the jar of clay, vessel, body is only important because of the treasure it holds and believing what the world tells me, that the body is of primary importance, continued to rage within me. Where is truth? Where is justice? Where is holiness? Am I using God’s love as a reason to continue sinning? Accusations rang out in myself each time I tried to start a diet or exercise routine.
But my heavenly Father continued to sing, and His songs brought me to my knees. I finally reached the point where I said, “Okay, I quit. I accept what I see in the mirror. I give up the battle. You are God and I am tired of court marshalling myself constantly when you don’t even bring a charge against me!”
At that point God brought into my mind a picture of an ancient water jar – what I imagine the Samaritan woman brought to the well to fulfill her daily needs. The jar was cracked and had dirt clinging to it as if it was recently dug from an archeological site. And as I dwelt on this image, the gentlest of questions appeared. “Is there one small thing you can do to clean this vessel today?”
God asked one small step of cooperation. He didn’t ask me to restore the whole jar—that was what I had been trying to accomplish in my own strength. He only asked for one small step of cooperation. The all surpassing power to redeem and restore is only His.
This picture of the ancient jar was so powerful to me that I wanted a reminder in my home. I have a friend who is an artist and I asked her to make this jar for me as a reminder of two things: 1. The jar is temporary but important because of what it carries. 2. Every day I have an opportunity to make at least one choice that will take care of the jar.
I waited months for the jar to be completed. And then on February 14, Valentine’s Day, I received a text, “Your jar is done.” Isn’t that just like God to wrap the whole lesson up in love?!
- Slowly read 2 Corinthians 4:6-10. Read the passage at least two more times.
- Ask God to show you what is your small step of obedience today.
- Is there some responsibility you are assuming that you need to hand back to God? If there is some responsibility that you are assuming that isn’t yours, hand it back to God in prayer. Rest in his power. Take the small step.