Tuesday Re-mix –
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
Is it just me? Does anybody else read these words from the Apostle Paul and remember those silly Weebles ads about “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” (with apologies to all my international friends who all think I have finally lost my marbles!)? Weebles are those cute little Hasbro/Playskool toys with the weighted bottoms so that they literally cannot be knocked over. They are a near-perfect illustration of this revolution we call Christianity. No matter what the world tries to do to stamp it out, it just gets back up and keeps growing.
And it is that same “struck-down-but-not-destroyed” spirit which inhabits you and me as church leaders today. That is the encouraging word here from Paul to us. We are filled with this same indestructible spirit. The question is, does it feel like that to you? And if it does not, how can you recapture it?
It seems clear to me that this spirit of “indestructibility” which Paul talks about in verses 8-9 is very much tied to his “jars of clay” illustration in verse 7. In other words, it is only when we lose sight of our position as flawed and fragile vessels that we begin to set ourselves up for destruction. When we, as leaders, begin to believe people’s scouting reports on us as “amazing communicators” or “extraordinary people”, when we begin to see ourselves as being just a little bit better than most of those around us, when we tend to forget that it is only the Spirit within us which makes us any kind of leader at all, then we begin putting into place the very cancer that will eventually become our demise. Rest assured, when your leadership rests on your human shoulders, it is doomed from the start. When you allow yourself to be placed high on a pedestal, you only ensure a much higher fall in the end.
But when we can say (with Paul) that we are mere earthen vessels, flawed and fragile, but carrying an invaluable and indestructible Spirit given to us freely by the grace of the sovereign God for purposes of His own glory and not for ours, then we can indeed be hard-pressed but not crushed, struck down but not destroyed. We can survive even the most painful season of grief and betrayal and failure…not because of who we are, but because of Who we have with us.
That encourages me greatly! I hope it encourages you as well.