“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
Anyone else a jar of clay?
Any others moms ever felt like they are a jar of clay?
I know I do. We’ve had a week of colds, sickness and broken nights. When the morning officially arrives then yes, I feel like I am a jar of clay.
Coffee helps. But that jar of clay feeling resurfaces about at 3.30pm.
Jars of clay are easily chipped by loud, shouty voices, inexplicable crying, competing needs, spilled drinks and coloring on kitchen floors.
So we’re human moms. We have physical limitations (I wrote a bit about that a little while ago).
But the point Paul is making in Corinthians is encouraging: we have this treasure.
We have the hope and light of the gospel. We are pointing our children to Jesus, not to ourselves.
And Paul’s point gets even brighter – that it’s good that we have this treasure in our jar of clay, because it shows that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
What a fantastic reason not to be a supermom. I want my children to know that the gospel comes with the surpassing power of God, not with my feeble efforts.
We are not crushed though
Because the power to serve actually comes from God, we are “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Ok, so I’m taking Paul’s words there about his own ministry to the Gentiles and I’m applying them to the ministry of motherhood. A little extreme maybe? I wouldn’t say my twin toddlers persecute me exactly… 😉
But motherhood is a ministry given to us by God, and the shape of all Christian ministry is the same: Cross-shaped. We follow in the steps of Jesus.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
“..though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Motherhood is Cross-shaped. It is a path of laying down your life for the sake of others. It is a giving up of my own riches, for the sake of the little ones entrusted to me.
So I take it Paul’s experience of God’s mercy in ministry is common to us too. We may feel fragile, but by God’s grace we are not defeated.
What example do my children really see?
Motherhood is a ministry given to us by God. And He knows about human limitations, and in fact He uses that for good. To show us and our children that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
Isn’t that good news?
Sometimes when my jar of clay is clanging about me and I’m feeling chipped and cracked, my ministry of motherhood feels like it’s not going so well.
I’m meant to be a shining example, pointing my children to Christ. Or at least a shining example of a competent got-myself-together-kind-of adult.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
The daily example my children have is one of the forgiveness and grace of the Lord Jesus. They see the glory of God in the face of Christ, shown to them by a jar of clay.
They have an example of how when we make mistakes, we say sorry; when we’re tired, God gives us rest; when we’re overwhelmed, God carries our burdens.
When we are a jar of clay, we show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.