“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this allsurpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hardpressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned;struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body.” … “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
(II Corinthians 4:4-10 & 16-18)
Ever since I was a young boy, I think I’ve always been fascinated with “buried treasure”. I think it all started when I once went down to the river and found an old dump littered with old bottles. I found out later that some of those old bottles were quite valuable. And so I would spend my summers digging for whatever items I could find. Bottles, stoneware jugs and other items that were buried in the ground. From there I started to go to garage sales and antique shops…all in search of hidden treasure. To this day there is still part of me that has a hard time not turning into a garage sale or estate sale, or some other similar hunting grounds.
So, what is it that makes a treasure a treasure? Is it the rarity of the item? I know collectors who have collected only the greatest and the best. But there’s always that one rare item that seems to elude them. Is it the security that that item brings? Most collectors I know end up calling their collections “little bits of junk.” Not to mention that Jesus said – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in steal.” Or perhaps maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt. And, speaking from experience there is a kind of reward that comes from discovering something that was previously was hidden. The only problem is, it just doesn’t last.
The truth be known, even the most prized earthly treasure cannot hold a candle to the lasting treasure that God has freely given us in the person of His Son. I know, because I’ve been looking. But no matter what I still keep coming back to this one truth – that Jesus Christ by his perfect life, by his innocent death and by his glorious resurrection, has won for me and you, the precious gift of God’s lasting forgiveness. There is nothing more rare or more beautiful…or costly. And with that forgiveness comes a fulfillment and security that, quite frankly is beyond anything that we could ever find in this life.
So what is the secret behind that fulfillment and behind that security? Nothing less than the all surpassing power and love of our gracious God. A power so immense that it is able to bring us through every challenge, every hardship, every hurt. A love so profound that there is no sin to big or struggle so difficult that God can’t love us through it. A love so deep that it led him to give to unworthy sinners what he treasured most. And just think – it’s the only treasure in existence where God himself serves as the guarantee!
How amazing – the greatest treasure of all, and God chooses to place it inside these simple jars of clay. Lord – give me a heart that continues to cling to that one true and lasting treasure that comes from you! And help me to remember that your treasure of life and forgiveness will far outlast any momentary struggles I might have in this world. To the one true and eternal God be praise and glory and honor, now and forevermore.
~ Pastor Dan Schmidt