The study of 2 Corinthians in the class on Wednesday afternoon has brought the following passage to our attention: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (4:7).
While Paul's accusers were seeking to discredit his work, Paul continued his "ministry" of preaching the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God" to all men (vs. 1-6). Although he was suffering emotional and physical harm for his efforts, he was not giving up (vs. 8-18).
Paul was willing to continue preaching despite the persecution because he knew the spreading of the gospel was more important than sparing his physical life. The mention of "treasure in earthen vessels" referenced the practice of storing valuable items such as jewels or precious metals in ordinary clay jars or pots. The clay containers were worn through use, and would be discarded and replaced when broken, but the important item was the treasure they contained.
In this illustration, the gospel is the treasure and the Christian is the earthen vessel. The messenger is unimportant. It didn't matter what happened to Paul. When he was used up, someone else would take his place. What mattered was the gospel.
The same thing is true with us today. That which Christians possess within their hearts, a knowledge of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, is the most valuable treasure this earth will ever know. What are we doing with this treasure? Are we sharing it with those who need it? The world is dying in sin and darkness. We have the light. Are we letting it shine or keeping it hidden?
There are many things we can talk about and share with those around us. The weather is beginning to change, football season is starting, it will soon be time to go deer hunting, and we love to talk about our family. Politics and current events can easily start conversations. However, the most important thing we can be talking to others about is the treasure we have found in the Lord.
Are we inviting people to attend our Gospel Meeting next week? Are we encouraging people to read their Bible? Are we involving ourselves in religious discussions in an effort to let our light shine? We have this treasure in earthen vessels. What are we doing with it? Remember what happened to the man who hid his talent (Matt. 25:14-30).