But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
“Do you want to see what’s inside?” my friend asked. I had just complimented her on the old-fashioned rag doll her daughter held in her small arms. Instantly curious, I replied that yes, I very much wanted to see what was inside. She turned the doll face down and pulled open a discreet zipper sewn into its back. From within the cloth body, Emily gently removed a treasure: the rag doll she’d held and loved throughout the years of her own childhood more than two decades prior. The “outer” doll was merely a shell without this inner core to give it strength and form.
Paul describes the truth of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection as a treasure, carried about in the frail humanity of God’s people. That treasure enables those who trust in Him to bear up under unthinkable adversity and continue in their service. When they do, His light—His life—shines brightly through the “cracks” of their humanness. Paul encourages us all not to “lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:16) because God strengthens us to do His work.
Like the “inner” doll, the gospel-treasure within us lends both purpose and fortitude to our lives. When God’s strength shines through us, it invites others to ask, “What’s inside?” We can then unzip our hearts and reveal the life-giving promise of salvation in Christ.
Second Corinthians 4 describes how God’s love mends broken people. We see evidence of this life-change in the story of Zacchaeus, a man who made large profits by overtaxing his people. When Jesus called him out of his sin, Zacchaeus instantly vowed: “If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:1–10). His actions demonstrated his changed life.
How do your actions demonstrate God’s work in your life?