Society tells us we must be bigger, better, faster and stronger to find success.
The fact that society exalts displays of strength is not something new to the twenty-first century. Paul dealt with these very things in Second Corinthians.
Corinth was a leading first-century city, steeped in the Greek worldview, a worldview that exalted all the externals, such as knowledge, physical strength, wealth, and eloquence. According to these standards, Paul fell woefully short.
Paul, according to many biblical scholars, was a short, balding, annoying sort of fellow, and may have had stomach issues and bad eyesight (these are some of the options for the thorn in the flesh in 2 Cor. 12:7). He was not a skilled speaker and bore on his body the marks of many shipwrecks and beatings.
Yet, Paul knew the true source of his ministry was not his personal talents and abilities. It was to this effect he encouraged the Corinthian believers when he said, “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).
Clay jars were as ordinary as grocery sacks are today. They were so common they had no inherent value.
The uncommon thing was what filled them. In this illustration, the jars fill with the Spirit of God.
All through Scripture, God uses those which society would never choose. Consider the following:
- God used Moses who was shy, fearful, and afraid to speak. He qualified to lead a million from slavery.
- God used David. The youngest shepherd became the giant killer and greatest king of Israel.
- God chose a tiny and insignificant nation called Israel to bring about the Messiah
- The disciples were uneducated fisherman and tax collectors. No book would describe this group at the recipe for building an effective team.
They were ordinary jars of clay. According to God, this qualified them. By Paul’s definition, a true minister spoke not from his success but from the Spirit inside.
God uses Ordinary People
This illustration represents what he wanted to occur in the mindset of Corinthian believers. He desired them to know they qualified as ministers, even without all the outward things society told them were necessary.
Billy Graham was a farm boy from the mountains of North Carolina, Descriptions have him with a big nose and being rather funny looking. This jar of clay, filled with the power of God had preached to millions while meeting with leaders and presidents around the world. He is man Christians and unbelievers alike respect.
You don’t need to be a superstar. God uses ordinary people.
This tells us a very clear message.
So do it! Be a jar of clay filled with extraordinary power.
What are some of the lies that society tells us we must be in order to succeed?
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