July 25, 2017
(St. James (Greater), Apostle)
Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. 2_Cor_4:7-15
Hmmm, ever consider this body of ours, beloved, as “an earthen vessel,” like a piece of pottery, or a little ship, or an ARK, where the greatest value in us is not the vessel itself, but the “treasure” that’s held within. And that doesn’t mean that we can abuse the vessel because it holds no value. Because by abusing the vessel we may just as well abuse the treasure. But it does means that the vessel itself is not the treasure. We know that one day the vessel will degrade and fall apart. And that may even happen prematurely through an accident or weakness in defending itself from disease, or even through the actions of others.
But recognizing that treasure within us also gives us a different viewpoint on the vessels and treasures of other people. Some may not even realize that they have such a treasure within them. And not realizing there IS a treasure within every one of us, they may set out to abuse others and their treasures. So in response, we try to teach, we try to “evangelize” others about this treasure, about their treasure. Unfortunately, not all will listen.
God, in Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is our internal treasure. He gives us the strength of endurance, the patience of Job, the wisdom of discernment, the knowledge to grow, the compassion to love, the fear to respect and the faith to persist. And we know that He IS our eternal life. He is our hope and our purpose!
So when that vessel starts bothering you, beloved, too much pain, not enough attention, at a loss for meaningful work, Hang On! Because deep within there IS a light! The light of Jesus that gives us hope, gives us peace, gives us comfort and leads us forward.
So, keep the faith, beloved, and God WILL deliver us – for all eternity!
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