Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just a Piece of Pottery

I Corinthians 4:3-7

Did you ever drive down a highway and see an area where they had painted yellow stripes across the highway to keep the cows out of an area? It seems ridiculous doesn’t it. That paint doesn’t appear to offer any barrier to the cows, yet they rarely cross it in daylight.

Temple Grandin, in Animals in Translation, explains that while cows are partially colorblind, yellow is a color that is extremely visible to them. Since they normally only see small flower sized amounts, a large stripe seems very out of place, and they focus on it to the exclusion of other things. Because the color so fully occupies their attention, they don’t see it as part of the road. It looks dangerous to try to cross. At night, they don’t see the color clearly, and cross without concern.

Just ass the darkness causes the cows not to see the yellow stripes clearly, and thus to ignore them, Satan has blinded people’s minds to prevent their clearly seeing what God offers, and the danger of ignoring it.

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:3-4)

The message is not about us, or our opinions and standards, but about Jesus Christ. We are just servants to those we take the message to, and we take that position because we love Christ. Like the daylight allows the cows to see the paint clearly, God has enabled us to see clearly the salvation and life Christ provides for us. That same light then shines through us to those around us.

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (II Corinthians 4:5-7)

Many designers and interior Decorators in our area have begun to use light fixtures made from Indian pottery for accent lighting. While the pottery is opaque and blocks the light, carefully cut openings direct the light to the features the designer wishes to emphasize. The contrast of the lighted and unlighted areas can be very dramatic.

By showing his eternal power through human vessels, God emphasizes the difference between what he has done and what man can do. When the light is on, the pottery fixture is less noticeable because of the light shining from it. When the light is off you see only the pottery. When Christ is not shining through us, others see only the man, but when he is, the man only serves to emphasize Christ. The flaws, problems, and discouragements begin to make his actions in our life more obvious, as people see how these things affect us. Without him, we are just a piece of pottery, but with him we are a light.

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (II Corinthians 4:8-11)

It is only as the man begins to disappear that Christ is seen. As we die to our own goals, standards, and desires, we are able to offer life through Christ to those around us, because he is what they begin to see. Since it is the same Spirit of faith that we have, he will give the same reward for faith to us as to others, although it seems that we are missing out at the moment. Our faith enables us to face these things and testify of Christ.

“So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.” (II Corinthians 4:12-14)

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