“…This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in common earthenware – to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (J.B. Phillips)
Many years ago our famous American statesman, John Quincy Adams, was crossing a street. Due to poor health it took him five minutes to reach the other side. A friend passing by asked, “How is John Quincy Adams this morning?” He replied, “John Quincy Adams is doing just fine. The house he lives in is in sad disrepair. In fact, it is so dilapidated, John Quincy Adams may have to move soon, but John Quincy Adams is doing just fine, thank you!”
John Quincy Adams had good theology. To make a clear distinction between his inward man (the spiritual man who is eternal), and his outward man (the body which is temporal), and clearly value the inward man above the outward man is a vital dimension the Apostle Paul shares with us in II Corinthians chapters 4 and 5.
According to Paul, outwardly we do not always know why things happen the way they do. Therefore, our outward persona is often perplexed. Paul tells us, however, that inside there is a continuous persuasion because Christ lives in us.
Paul writes that outwardly we may be persecuted and suffer, but inside Jesus is continuously assuring us, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Speaking from his own experiences of suffering, illness and persecution, Paul acknowledges that sometimes our little clay pot gets knocked down, but never knocked out.
Because there is a Great Treasure living in our clay plot, we always get up and keep going.
Dick Woodward, In Step with Eternal Values