2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure (the gospel of Jesus) in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Clay isn’t a very durable material. Unlike metal or even wood, clay tends to chip and crack fairly easily. Paul is suggesting that he and his traveling ministry partners were a bit like clay jars. They’d been through a lot – and I expect it showed. Their bodies were cracked, chipped, and broken from decades of abuse and persecution. And yet the mighty power of God showed up in their ministry over and over again. Yes they were on their way to death, but at the same time they were giving eternal life to others by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In a very small way I’d like to think that I share in Paul’s experience described in our passage. As I get older my body is more chipped and cracked than it used to be. But I pray the Lord is using me more and more for the sake of the gospel, that through me other people are receiving eternal life in Jesus. Frankly, that’s my prayer for you as well. Lord, let it be so.