But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
The music playing in the office near mine was beautiful. Someone had breathed new life into one of those old hymns by blending the poetry with different instruments and new voices. It was art and melody and faith filling my morning with worship. It was great - until the person who had the music playing in their office began to sing along, then it was brutal! I changed from praising God to covering my ears. It sounded like a nasal congested hyena in a loud argument with a cat that was on fire. Horrible doesn’t begin to describe the screeching and gurgling that drowned out that beautiful hymn. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or toss a hand grenade in there.
But then God recalled to me the truth of this verse: that we have the treasure of knowing Jesus in jars of clay. All of us who love and follow Christ are called to be conformed to his character. And, in the “knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6) we have his perfect, beautiful, holy, faithful model of worship to imitate. Our lives in essence “sing along” with the lyrics and melody of the life of Jesus, and in comparison we screech and gurgle and crackle.
After I recovered from the initial shock and dismay at how horribly this person was butchering a beautiful hymn I began to appreciate the effort. Even though it was kind of pathetically funny it came from a true heart and even if it made me want to stick a fork in my eye I celebrated that they were singing the right song and that they wanted to sing of Jesus.
I want to appreciate and give God thanks for people who are butchering their attempt to sing the right song with their lives. I am one of them. Forgive me when I am so arrogant as to demand other clay jars to be as beautiful as fine china. Forgive me when I get so distracted by other people’s imperfect attempts to sing Jesus with their lives that I miss even the faintest harmony and melody of his perfect song. Forgive me when I am so sinful as to ridicule another’s singing and thereby trample the work of the very Spirit who gives them the desire to sing.
Let us give each other the grace God has given us in Christ! Let us give ourselves the grace God has given us in Christ! Let us have eyes to see in each other and in ourselves not just the clay but the treasure the clay holds. Let us rejoice in the church and in each member of it; tone deaf, off beat, off key, but singing the song of the Lord Jesus Christ.