Last night, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. R.J. Gore preach at my good friend Kyle Sims’ church in Lancaster. Dr. Gore chose as his text 2 Corinthians 4:1-10. His main point was that the light of the gospel, Jesus Christ as Lord, is best seen from pots that are cracked. A cracked pot releases the treasure that is found within. This is especially the case if the treasure is light and the pot is a luminary set in a dark place. As the light shines it illuminates the room so folks can see. The more the pot is cracked, the more brightly the light shines. Dr. Gore pointed out that Paul referred to himself as a cracked pot who had suffered many afflictions for the sake of Christ so that “the life of Jesus may be made known in his body” (2 Cor. 4:10). There was and still is much fruit in Paul’s affliction.
Dr. Gore used three examples of cracked pots in Christian history in addition to himself. He told the stories of David Brainerd, John Bunyan, and William Cowper. Each of these three men were severely cracked pots. Brainerd was sickly, melancholic, and weak; Bunyan was arrested and held captive much of his life for preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified; and, Cowper suffered depression and mental breakdown under the pressure of guilt and self-condemnation. But yet, the Lord shined brightly through each of them. The pots were cracked, but the light was bright. The pot is the vessel. There is nothing particularly special about it. It’s ordinary. But, the treasure is priceless! The treasure contained by the pot is the pot’s glory. A vessel that contains the light of Jesus is a vessel full of glory. And in that case, the more cracks the better.
Wasn’t this the case with the Lord Jesus. The true light of the world had come into the world in a clay pot – a human vessel. He was broken; he was crushed; he was abandoned. But his treasure of truth shined for all the world to see. The centurion by the cross proclaimed, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” The women attending the cross saw the the light of glory shine in its brightest ray when the Lord Jesus said, “It is finished.” His pot was crushed, but his light shined for all the world to see.
That got me thinking. If I were to attempt to lighten a dark room with clay pot luminaries, I would need one of two things. I would either need a lot of luminaries in pristine condition, or I would need a few luminaries with multiple cracks in them. When God wants to illuminate the world, he has both at his disposal. Sometimes he has multiple pots, and other times he simply has a few or, even, a single one. The number he uses and the way he uses them is a decision of his providence. However, you and I can decide whether or not we will allow him to use us. Sometimes he wants to use us together, and yet other times, he wants to use us alone. So that we can shine as brightly as we can, he often has to crack us. That’s not pleasant, but it is glorious. We are the vessels, he is the treasure! May we let him use us to shine ever so brightly for his glory.