that’s what we are – treasure carriers. Now this may be hard to believe and take some getting used to – but it is true – we are treasure carriers. This seems a contradiction because I have been a treasure hunter, a treasure seeker but do not think of myself as a treasure carrier or a treasure holder. I may long to discover hidden treasure (like people do when they search their attics and basements in hopes of finding something of value among all the broken, discarded, outdated items classified officially as junk), but it would not occur to me to imagine that I already possess and carry great treasure within myself.
There are pleasure seekers and treasure seekers; there are ring bearers, cup bearers, banner bearers and armor bearers; those who come bearing good news and bad. But treasure? There are those who carry treasure? and these treasure carriers walk among us on a daily basis? and I am one of them?
Treasure is usually under lock and key, guarded well, not easily accessible to just anyone. Or it is hidden away in unknown, secret places. (hence the allure of treasure maps) Treasure is not for the masses, but only a select few perhaps, such as those who are royalty or those who are pirates by trade. There are safes and bank vaults and museums for art treasures. There are keys and locks and alarms and armed guards. We go to great expense, to great lengths to protect our treasures and to keep them safe. We take great care to provide places worthy of housing our treasures, places such as palaces and museums in which we keep what we deem to be of great value.
The crown jewels of England are stored in the Tower of London. Museums are large, beautiful buildings fit for housing precious paintings, sculptures and other valuable works of art. Except for treasure that lies buried beneath the ocean on sunken ships from times past, most treasure is kept in surroundings matching the exalted nature of the treasure it contains.
That’s why it is so surprising to me that I should carry a treasure of priceless value in my earthly body. It makes no sense. But this is what Paul meant when he said, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 explains it this way, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” That’s the treasure – God’s Holy Spirit – come to live in me; to live in anyone who asks Jesus for the gift of His life giving presence.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians about, “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:26-27) Glorious riches, in me?
I am the “jar of clay” Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians, as containing this treasure. Some translations say “earthen vessels”, which I love for how accurately it describes me, seeing as how we were formed from the earth. “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
“for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) God knows how we are formed because He is the One who formed us! God told Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)
So my earthly body hardly seems a suitable place, a place worthy of housing treasure of any kind, let alone the glorious riches of an eternal, imperishable, living Creator. Beautiful, valuable treasure deserves an equally beautiful, expensive dwelling place. But God chose to make His home with me and in me?
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Jesus said in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Paul says to the Ephesians, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts though faith.” (Ephesians 3:16-17)
“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11) So there it is. God’s Spirit lives in me.
I am carrying this imperishable treasure around in my perishable body, this treasure of great value is housed in this home made from dust! Isaiah 57:15 tells me something about where God dwells, “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
That’s the contradiction that is beyond my understanding. The Creator of the universe who dwells in unapproachable light also dwells with me, His Spirit lives in me! And because I am a broken, earthen vessel, the light of this treasure of His Presence shines out through each and every crack for all to see!
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; . . . And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
I am a jar of clay, I am an earthen vessel, I am a treasure carrier!
sincerely, Grace Day