Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jars of Clay

"For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14); "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

We are clay and dust, not very durable materials. Job in his agony lamented to God, "Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?" (Job 10:9). We are frail and lack vitality. But God does not condemn us. On such days, it might help us to remember that "...[our] strength will equal [our] days" (Deuteronomy 33:25b).

There is another instruction in these verses and that is to grant to others the generous allowance that God grants to us and to have as much patience with the frailties of others as we have of our own limitations. We are all dust and prejudices and heredities that God knows and evaluates in both the present and final accounting. How can we judge another's formation when we must ask God daily for mercy for our own failures?

But we are also "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). Who but the Creator could house within dust and clay such delicate organs as the brain and ears and eyes, or envision the uses of hands and feet, arms and legs? The study of the cell alone convinces us of the astonishing act of Creator and creation.

It is the spiritual operation of the mind that separates us from the animals and makes us God's treasures. The mind is either helped or hindered by the condition of the housing, and it is with the body that we honor God: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit...? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). From this, then, we must conclude that we are morally obligated to take care of our dust and clay.

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