So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
If we are believers, having invited Christ to take control of our lives, we "house" the gospel message within us. That message is not housed within us simply to affect us alone. It is there to be shared. It is often most effectively shared when times are difficult or new graces are needed. Paul knew that this message had a deep impact on its hearers, bringing new grace each time it was considered and allowed to do its work. That which is housed within us is contained there for the purpose of affecting lives with the grace of God. It is not simply for our self use – it is to be shared, allowing the grace to be multiplied, the love of God to be "seen" in earthly vessels. There is a principle inherent in this treasure – the more it is shared, the more the treasure grows. Unlike earthly treasures we may amass in great number on this earth, the treasure of the grace of God is ever growing, ever increasing, ever extending.
We will do well to allow what is contained within this earthen vessel of ours to be poured out, shared freely, and allowed to affect those who are touched by its value (its extreme worth). Even if the pouring out of this treasure causes us to go through things that some would consider unfavorable, or not worth the risk, we can rest assured that “while we’re going through the worst, we’re getting in on the best” just as Paul proclaimed to his hearers in this chapter. The pouring out of this message is a unique privilege of each believer. Don’t squander what he has so freely given. Don’t hoard it up only for your personal satisfaction. Instead, share it freely. In so doing, you are multiplying the grace of God in ways you could never imagine.
Paul reminds us that the things we see today, enjoy in the present moments of our lives, are small potatoes compared to the lavish graces God has for us in eternity. Our pastor often says that God is using this lifetime to prepare us for eternity with him. He is also using this lifetime to prepare others for their eternity - all because we were showing them the way into God's grace through the testimony of our lives. There are times when I wonder what more God could have planned for me into eternity - every grace I have received today has been unmerited, above and beyond what I could ever hope or imagine. I really believe that we have only received in a VERY small part all that God has stored up for us in eternity. What we do with what we have received in our "present" may effect somebody else's eternity - that is the message of clay pots. God shines through us, not for our glory, but for his. All of us are being shaped into vessels of his honor - let that glory that is revealed in his handiwork become a vessel of grace in the lives of others.