by Ann Hanley
As Women of the ELCA participants, we are vessels with different talents, gifts, abilities, personalities and life experiences. But we have a common denominator: We are children of God.
I recall 2 Corinthians 4:7 from last summer’s Bible study by Angie Shannon in Gather magazine. “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”
This biblical comparison reminds us that our treasure is not about the strength of the vessel. It is humbling and not so complimentary to be referenced as a clay jar. (Being compared to the not-so-smart, stubborn, high maintenance sheep is worse!)
Clay is not the soil of choice for farmers, gardeners or even those just wanting a lush green lawn. Just as the clay jar’s basic purpose was to hold water, a life necessity, we, too, carry “Emanuel, God with us” in our hearts and souls for a purpose: to spread the Good News and share God’s love.
[bctt tweet=”It is God who gives us our gifts, abilities and the power to carry out God’s work.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
But we must always remember it is God who gives us our gifts, abilities and the power to carry out God’s work.
In my first reading of this verse, the phrase this treasure caught my attention. The word treasure—singular; not treasures. This treasure is the Good News.
Then there is the clay jar: easy to chip or crack, like us. We have frailties and weaknesses.
One reference from the NIV Study Bible notes that “it was customary to conceal treasures in clay jars, which had little value or beauty and did not attract attention to themselves and their precious contents.”
God uses us, ordinary and unassuming—the clay jars of life—to accomplish God’s plans!
So as we move forward with our unique gifts and differences, may we share the treasure from our jar of clay. May we share God’s message of Good News.
Ann Hanley, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Sherman, Texas, and a recently elected Northern Texas/Northern Louisiana synodical women’s organization board, wrote this devotional for a board retreat.