My Upper Room meditation for July 10, 2008 was one that I removed and kept for future reference. It is filed in my Bible next to 2 Corinthians 4: 1-18, and reads:
We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
2 Corinth. 4:7
The short story that goes with that reads:
My life in Christ has helped me to accept the nature of the clay jar that I am. I have weaknesses. I have strengths. For some people who know me, my strengths outweigh my weaknesses. For others, my weaknesses outweigh my good traits. But we all live somewhere between what we have been and what God is reshaping us to be.
This is an image of God’s kingdom. We live in an “already-but-not-yet” time. God’s salvation in Christ has already come, but it is not yet enjoyed by all people and all creation. Jesus gave us a glimpse of God’s future glory, but its full realization remains future. We live between the already of what God has done and the not-yet of what God will do. The work god has begun in us is not complete.
Yet God’s glory is seen clearly in our sinful, broken, imperfect humanity, “We have this treasure in clay jars.” We can focus on the clay jar, or we can focus on the treasure. We can condemn each other for being a cracked, chipped, misshapen, leaky, brittle, traditional, or contemporary jar. But if we focus on the treasure, we have hope – hope for me, for you, for enemies as well as friends, for the world – because the treasure is God’s extraordinary power at work in us.
Mr. Mike Ripski (Tennessee)
The Upper Room has always been a part of my life. My father read it each day before going out to do his police work. I never read it before a young instructor at River Bend Station, teaching a class in Nuclear Power, mentioned that he read his Upper Room each day. After class I asked him if he had an old copy that I could read. That was in July 1981. I have read it daily since then and some of the stories have been life changing and very inspirational to me.