In a drawer in our kitchen sit a stack of clear plastic containers. Some are square, others are rectangles, and still others are circular. These “lidded” containers have grown in number over the years. Most were considered disposable by another, but have been kept by us for re-use.
They are basically worthless by themselves. If I tried to sell them on eBay, my guess is they would not even get an opening bid of $1 … for all of them. That said, they prove VERY USEFUL for my family. We store food inside them that ultimately is used to nourish our bodies. Their value is found NOT in what they are, but what is IN THEM.
I say this today, because in 2 Corinthians 4:7-15, the Apostle Paul says something quite striking. He compares our lives to plastic disposable lidded dishes. He indicates that (for the Christian) the most valuable thing in our lives IS NOT OUR LIVES. The most valuable thing about a Christian is CHRIST IN THEM THE HOPE OF GLORY.
God has placed His glorious gospel in our souls … a true treasure no doubt … even though our earthly lives are fragile and (in some sense) transient. In his words, “this treasure is found in earthen vessels.” Earthen vessels were the cheap tupperware of the ancient world. Paul’s point was clear … compared to God’s glory, our lives are not that spectacular – a mere container for His true treasure.
This is a perspective that is all but lost today. We live in an era that champions the individual human life above all else. The most important thing is WHAT I WANT. A post-enlightenment, post-modern perversion that sees the world as a hierarchy with ME on top. To people living in this world, enduring persecution and suffering and hardship for Jesus Christ so that others might come to know Christ is pure lunacy. Yet this is what Paul says our lives are all about!
Instead of seeing our comfort and desires as ultimate, Paul sees the glory of God as the true treasure … a treasure we should sacrifice all to both possess and share.
Human lives matter — for sure. We are created in the image of God and Jesus came to die for us! However, human lives are not ultimate. Your comfort is not ultimate. There is a greater Treasure designed to fill your bowl … and when this Treasure fills your heart, it nourishes for all time.
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in part 5 of our “Mission: Brief” sermon series, we will look at 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 together. Make plans to be with us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 … and bring friends!