Prize-Winning Mason Jars
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I collect mason jars—large ones, small ones, and unique ones. Every time I visit a yard sale or check out a thrift store, I search out the table of dusty glass jars seeking for a treasure—the one that I can clean up and add to the menagerie on my pantry shelves. Bonus points if I find one without a rusted ring!
As much as I love filling my shelves with these glass beauties, I enjoy filling them much more with colorful foods like tomato sauce, apple butter, pickles, jams, and multi-colored peppers. They brighten a room and bring the taste of a summer into the middle of a winter meal. Yum!
Ever since I learned the basics of canning, I have hunted mason jars. But the jars themselves don’t win any blue ribbons at the county fair. They are just plain etched glass—empty containers that are easily broken. Their treasure is on the inside—much like what God has put inside of us.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God, not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)
Clay jars were nothing extraordinary. They were ordinary containers that people back in Jesus’ time used every single day—kind of like plastic containers today. Yet, Jesus used them as an example of how God fills and uses regular, ordinary people just like us to show His extraordinary power to a hurting world.
Likewise, we are nothing special. Our flesh is nothing more than mere clay—plain, common containers that are easily broken. Paul writes that it is through that brokenness we show God’s glory.
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (v. 11)
We don’t suffer in vain! It is all for Jesus’ sake. It has meaning and purpose—to reflect His love and glory, instead of our own. Every time we endure a trial, we are being renewed to be made more like Christ. Our outer self fades, and God shines through us from the inside out.
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God (v. 15).
God promises that the end result will be something much greater than we can ever imagine.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (v. 17).
This gives us hope and encourages us not to lose heart when we go through difficult times.
I could leave my mason jars on the shelf to collect dust. They would be pretty pieces of glass, but they would be empty—without meaning or purpose. They will have no use, and they won’t win any prizes. But when I fill them, and place them in steaming hot water, they become a vessel for something that is much more valuable. Mason jars were meant to be filled—that is their purpose.
Likewise, when we hold onto our own identity and refuse to allow God to fill and use us, we remain empty. We were called for a greater purpose—to be filled and radiate the power of God.
“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Scripture is quoted from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.
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