A RING-BOX CHRISTIAN
Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1–18
When a young man gets down on one knee; reaches into his pocket; pulls out a small, velvet-covered box and opens it, the wrong response from the young woman before him would be, “Oh! What a pretty box!” If she utters those words, there’s something seriously wrong with her perspective.
The box holding the diamond engagement ring isn’t meant to draw attention to itself. The box exists solely to make the ring look good. You might describe ring boxes as plain and nondescript, yet simple and elegant. Inside, the ring tucks into white satin or black velvet to allow the beauty of the diamond to shine forth.
Paul uses a different object to communicate a similar lesson. When he observes that “we have this treasure in jars of clay” (verse 7), he’s declaring that we’re ordinary “packages,” not ornate glass vases. Paul urges us not to live in a way that draws attention to ourselves. Instead, we are to seek to showcase the brilliance of the One who lives within us.
These are sobering words in an age in which even some preachers wear diamond-studded watches, fly in private jets, arrive in a motorcade of limousines and highlight the vast influence of their ministries. The apostle Paul probably wouldn’t have impressed these Christian “celebrities.” What’s attractive about a man who describes himself as “hard pressed,” “perplexed,” “persecuted” and “struck down” (verses 8–9)?
But remember, the apostle Paul existed to make Jesus look good. As he sought to bring people to Christ, Paul didn’t want them to overlook Christ and fall in love with himself instead. What a goal! May we also function simply as jars of clay, desiring only to attract people to the incomparable treasure we hold inside.
To Take Away
- Do your attitudes and actions draw attention to yourself or to Christ?
- What practical opportunities do you have to point others to Christ?
- What steps can you take to become consumed with a desire to glorify Christ while downplaying yourself?
In Other Words
“Humility is the true proof of Christian virtues; without it we retain all our faults, and they are only covered with pride to hide them from others, and often from ourselves.” —FranÇois de la Rochefoucauld
Copyright © 2006 by Zondervan.