The Image of Treasure

James Nettinga

READ : 2 Corinthians 4:1-12

This is one of the finest examples of a great teacher who is willing to confess that he has limitations. Paul has said that he preached Jesus Christ as Lord in the full light of truth with good conscience. He calls this a spiritual treasure.

Yet he was also aware of his weakness which he called “earthen vessels.” As a frail vessel he admitted to his very human qualities, troubles, doubts, and struggles. In spite of weakness he affirmed that he had never been crushed or destroyed. He said it was like carrying the death of Jesus in his mortal body so that he could give life to others.

Paul teaches us two things, one, a way to decide what is valuable, and, two, a way of valuing what we treasure. Having been trusted with such a treasure as Christians, we can become so proud that we develop a false confidence and self-satisfaction. We value this treasure wrongly. Paul, using himself as an example, reminds us that we are still clay pots, and that the spiritual treasure we possess is not of us but of God. This means God will work through our weaknesses. We can do outstanding work for the kingdom of God in spite of human limitations.


O God, may we never forget how the treasure of the knowledge of God’s glory shines in the face of Christ through us. Amen.