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Michael Potts: Let your light shine

Michael Potts • Updated Dec 9, 2016 at 6:00 PM

“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves,” II Corinthians 4:6-7 NLT.

Who would have thought years ago that we would gladly be buying water packaged in plastic bottles sold in a store? The International Bottled Water Association reports that sales of bottled water increased 7.6 percent in 2014. 

What fascinates me about this trend is that unlike soft drinks and other beverages, most bottled water is packaged virtually the same way – in clear containers that are designed to let the purchaser see the water that’s inside the bottle. The shape, size and labeling of the bottles are not nearly as important as the ability to see exactly what each bottle holds.

In the ancient world of the Bible, water was typically transported in clay jars or pots. The harsh environment of the desert in and around Israel meant water was an extremely precious commodity. 

The clay jars that held the water were common, and like the plastic water bottles of our time, could be found everywhere. The importance of the clay jars lay in what they could hold within them.

The scripture above uses clay jars as an example of how the light of Christ shines through us. We are like fragile clay water jars in that we are common, ordinary, easily cracked or broken and not worth very much on our own. 

Yet, God has placed the light of Christ within us. 

These words from the Bible remind us the container’s value is based solely on the treasure it holds. May we always remember that God has seen fit to let the light of Jesus Christ reside within our ordinary selves. 

Our value comes from what is within us, not what we look like on the outside. We can get caught up in hoping that God will be able to use us when we finally are the perfect jar or container. 

Instead, God simply asks us to be a willing vessel for the light of Christ. 

During this season may we all remember to let the light within us shine.

Michael Potts is pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.

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