Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Treasure in Jars of Clay

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

I started out today looking up passages about grace. As I found verses I pasted them to my blog post but then I got to one that caught my attention in a more profound way. Aaa Ha I've found my topic for today's post. I'd love to tell you that I have an organized plan for what I will be writing about but honestly I don't know. There are times when I feel inspired and good about myself and what God has called me to do and other days where I fight through thoughts like "who do you think you are, and what makes you think you have anything of value to say." Other days where I question my motivation for posting everyday, am I doing this because God put it on my heart to do, or do I have something to prove? Most days I approach this with a fair amount of humility and  simply trust that the Holy Spirit is going to lead me to something that will not only minister to me but speak to you. That God will give me the courage to not just pretend I have it all together but to be real just like you and honest about my stuggles.

So today I came upon the passage in 2 Corinthians 4 I've provided a link for you just in case you don't have your bible handy. Back in the day it was written clay was used for a lot of things, like bricks, pottery, sealing letters. It was a common material used for building and in every day life.
We have these treasures in jars of clay, speaking of our mortal bodies. What are the treasures of grace in the life of a believer?  Spiritual treasures come from knowing God. How do we get to know someone? We spend time with them. We ask questions, we talk, we do things together, we find common ground, we notice how we are different. We notice what the other likes, and then find our selves wanting to do things that make the other person happy. All too often that bubble of excitement pops. We are selfish creatures, we did not get our way, we get captivated by something or someone else. Things that we once thought were special and amazing become normal from normal we move to complacent and then to indifferent. Its easier most of the time to find other things and people to amuse our selves rather than to make the effort to work through differences and to bring out the best in the other person or to our selves be better people. I think our relationship with the Lord can get like that at times. We think I've heard that verse a thousand times, I know all the stories, I'm a good enough person, and we find a comfortable place to settle.

We may look to others like an upstanding citizen of the Kingdom but we've gotten stuck in a rut. It might be that God has asked us to take a step or a leap of faith and we feel too inadequate to even try. It might be that like Naaman (2 Kings 5) God has asked us to do something that seems stupid or foolish like dipping 7 times in a muddy river to get healed. It might be that we have allowed God into our heart and life and then realized that now he wants that closet full of ugly secrets and we think if we let him see those things He might change his mind about us. Yep, this ones a rotton apple - toss it in the fire. The truth is we are all rotten, we all have those closets of guilt and shame filled with things we wish we could forget, or things we don't like about ourselves. Things we think if others found out they would no longer be interested in us. We can live behind our walls of insecurity and shame a very long time.

So today I was thinking about grace. We don't deserve it, we can't be good enough to earn it. We are jars of clay, we are common and often ordinary. Sometimes we are broken but God puts his treasure in us and we are no longer ordinary we contain the grace of God.

5591 treasure

Highly valued objects or accumulated riches. Treasure has at best only short-term benefit but can bring spiritual dangers. Spiritual treasure is of eternal value and comes from knowing and serving God.

Spiritual treasure from the Dictionary of Bible Themes 

Treasure consists in knowing God and his wisdom Col 2:2-3 See also Job 28:12-19;Pr 2:4Pr 3:13-15Pr 8:10-11Pr 24:3-4Isa 33:6
God’s word is supreme treasure Job 23:12Ps 19:9-10Ps 119:72,127
The kingdom of God is supreme treasure Mt 13:44 See also Mt 13:45-46,52
Spiritual treasure is more important than material possessions Heb 11:26 See alsoJob 22:23-25Mt 13:44-46
It is of eternal value Lk 12:33 See also Mt 6:201Pe 1:4
It is gained through generosity and wisdom Mt 19:21 pp Mk 10:21 pp Lk 18:22 See also Pr 8:21Pr 15:61Ti 6:18-19
God’s people are his treasured possession Dt 7:6 See also Ex 19:5Dt 14:2Dt 26:18Ps 135:4Mal 3:17

Here are some of the grace verses that I found as I studied today.

Isaiah 26:10
Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD.

Jonah 2:8
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:16
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

Acts 20:32
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

2 Corinthians 1:12
Paul’s Change of Plans ] Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 4:15
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Dear Lord, Forgive us for taking you for granted, for having the audacity to think we know you enough to get by. Every day is full of challenges and we can choose to face them alone or to face them with you. Help us to turn to you. Help us to allow you into those secret places and help us to realize that you love us even though we are often terribly broken and wounded and feel valueless. Help us to find our value not in the clay jars that we are but in knowing you, and being filled up by you. Help us to not hord up what you have given us thinking that we will run out but to pour it out on others, knowing you will fill us again and again. 

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