Jars of Clay

A Rabbi was once scorned by the daughter of a Roman emperor because he was not good looking. She was scandalized that such great wisdom be contained in such a sordid body of a deformed Rabbi.

The Rabbi asked her in what containers do they put their best wines in the palace. In jars of clay, came the reply. But why not put the wine in expensive silver containers? Why put up with lowly, ordinary, sordid jars of clay when they could afford to store them in more attractive containers? The girl was challenged with the idea that she ordered to put all their wines in silver containers.

The wine turned acid.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians tells of the same story. Sometimes we wonder why God would entrust the message of the gospel to ordinary people like us. Why can’t He just send the angels to preach?  One seraph could probably make more converts than a thousand of us put together. And why put the power of the gospel in sordid vessels like our frail bodies?

The answer was simple. The vessel should be very ordinary so that people would not confuse the message and the messenger. Unadorned clay pots don’t produce wine. They can only contain it. The excellency of the power of God would be better revealed if the container is as ordinary as jars of clay. Like us.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2Cor. 4: 7)