1 Corinthians 4:7 – But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
Davide Letterman used to have a bit on his show called “Stupid Human Tricks” (feel free to give it a quick Google if you’ve never seen it). The basic idea is that he would have a guest on the show who could do something ridiculous like bulging their eyes out of their head or contort their body into a pretzel. Stupid tricks, done by humans.
There were also extraordinary tricks. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill double-jointed thumb, these people got on the show because they could do something that almost no one else could do. It was supposed to be funny, maybe a little cringe worthy, but also oddly awe-inspiring.
That’s the thing about humans, we can be simultaneously extraordinary and, if we’re honest, stupid. We’re capable of amazing things, but we’re also needy. We get tired. We need companionship. We need encouragement. We need all those things that keep us alive: food, shelter, clothing, and so much more just to get us out of bed on a normal day!
Most of us want to focus on the extraordinary in our own lives, but Paul was just the opposite. His view was that it wasn’t his gifts or abilities that were the most important thing about him, it was his frailty. He was aware that he could have and maybe should have been discouraged and overwhelmed by his circumstances, but he recognized that it was in those circumstances that God’s power was most clearly seen. He was just a jar of clay, easily broken, but inside of that too normal, run-of-the-mill, ordinary jar was the power of the Gospel.
Many times, Christians want to do far more than they have the capacity to do. It might be every day activities like work, running the kids to school, or going to the gym. It might be kingdom work. Whatever it is we run ourselves ragged thinking that people like us—extraordinary people—should be able to do it all.
I think Paul might say that trying to “doing it all” isn’t extraordinary, it’s stupid! God didn’t save us to run ourselves ragged. He saved us to set us free. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed remember” you’re a jar of clay. You are desperately dependent on the surpassing power of God!