How Can a Little Clay Pot Express God’s Glory? (Part 5/conclusion)

[“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:17,18, NKJV)] We have thus far considered how the first essential was a frankness, an openness, an honesty. Secondly, we have seen how the working of death means humiliation and breaking. Thirdly, we come to see how to experience the supply of grace.

You know, this thought came to me the other day. Where does God give the grace? I suddenly realized that grace is not for the Treasure within. The supply of grace is for the clay pot. The Treasure doesn’t need the grace. It’s you—the little clay pot—you need that supply of grace. And the more grace God can give, the more thanksgiving rebounds to Him.

This is why Paul tells the Corinthians: “I want you to see what a benefit this is bringing to you, while I’m getting more grace too. But also more thanksgiving is rising to the Lord as I’m drawing more upon His life. Oh, it is so wonderful! These trials don’t seem to bother me. Sure! I’m having a terrible time, but I’m getting to experience more grace all the time.”

You know the Lord has said, “As thy day demands, so shall thy strength ever be.” The interesting thing is that beforehand, He doesn’t tell you, “Now, watch out because tomorrow at this time you’re going to get some terrible news. But that’s all right—don’t be alarmed; I’m going to give you sufficient grace.” He never tells you that; The news comes as a surprise. It shocks you down to your feet. And as you are about to collapse you sense the Lord’s presence and undergirding. A full flow of His grace begins to move in.

You see, you’d never have known, never have experienced His grace if everything were smooth. Learn to stand still; don’t run or turn aside out of His way. The Lord is simply dealing with you, training you, repairing you, bringing out the reflection of Himself through your little clay pot.

Have you said it to yourself? Oh, if I could just can up enough grace to last me through this whole week. If I had just enough to make sure I could make it to the end of this trying week! Well, you see, you couldn’t handle that any more than you could handle the food for seven days at one meal. I’ve often thought of of a fellow coming in and telling his wife. “Honey, fix me enough food for seven days. I haven’t got time to eat the rest of this week.” Oh—you say—that’s ridiculous, but it’s just as ridiculous to come to the meeting of the saints on Sunday and say, “I’ve sure got to get a touch from God; I’ve got to get enough to last me a whole week. I just haven’t enough time to seek God each day. I haven’t time to draw upon His supply through the hours ahead—I must store it up.” Foolishness! How ridiculous! His supply of grace flows just moment by moment. The supply is always at the reservoir—not in you. This grace-which is His presence—can only be experienced moment by moment as each situation arises. That keeps you wholly dependent upon Him.

If you could can it up for a week. pretty soon you’d want to can it up for a month. If you could can it for a month, then you’d want a reserve supply for a year ahead; and pretty soon you’d be wholly on your own. What need would you have of God?

Well, the Lord isn’t going to give enough for a year ahead. You’ll never get God in one big experience. You’ll never get God in ten easy lessons. He’ll come to be your resource day by day and moment by moment. As He works into your life through trials, He dispenses Himself as grace. It is no wonder these lovely verses by Annie Johnson Flint have become a favorite melody of so many:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,

He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.

To added affliction He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed ‘ere the day is half done:

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,

Our Father’s full giving, Is only begun.

The testimony of every servant of God echos the same message. With every divine charge God gives sufficient grace for carrying out what He has committed. You remember in the wilderness journey how God gave Moses a great responsibility, but He also gave a commensurate measure of grace for it. In due time when that responsibility was divided among seventy men, Moses didn’t need all that measure of grace, so the Scriptures explain that God took of the Spirit that was upon Moses and distributed that measure on the seventy who were to rule. How clearly you see God’s transferring that grace to wherever the responsibility is. Let this be your inner confidence: when God sets a task for you to accomplish, He so works that, though you may go through insurmountable obstacles and trials. He will always be there to measure out sufficient grace. But we had better be sure we have accepted the task from Him, not given birth to some fanciful project of our own.

There is a reason Paul reminds us, “we are never to collapse.” Many a better man than Paul has collapsed under lesser trials. Many have come home from the mission field to go to the mental institution. The other day I read where a Christian psychiatrist said, “One out of eight North Americans spend some time of their life in a mental institution.” One out of eight; evidently plenty of these are Christians. Why are they collapsing? The Treasure can’t collapse. That old clay pot has collapsed. Why? They have not drawn from the resources of His grace.

The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear. But every day the inner man receives fresh strength. If you’ll quit hoping for anything better for the outward man, you’ll be a lot more settled. As the inner man gets stronger and stronger he supports this outer man. This is where a “divine seeing” is so imperative. If we have “seen” this available reservoir of His Life within our little clay pot, we have a hope which springs eternal.

Shall we pray. We thank You for allowing us to see ourselves as we should see. Father, we do come to a new measure of rest in recognizing this little clay pot is merely to allow Your glorious Treasure to be expressed. Help us never again to be so occupied with the little pot when the Treasure alone is worthy of our attention. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!


Part 5 of 5 (conclusion) To order his four chapter book, Designed to Express His Life, contact Cathy Solomon at GFI:

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